Lynsey Engels, President, Real Estate Brokerage at Mel Foster Co. Inc. is pleased to announce ten of their agents have received recognition in the 2014 Premier Club by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. The following agents received Premier Club status, based upon closed referrals between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014:
Zina Akre, Geneseo
Jodi Faulkner, Bettendorf
Lucky Lang, Davenport I-74
Don Marple, Davenport Kimberly Road
Norm Marcov, Davenport I-74
Tim Odey, Bettendorf
Judy Schmidt, Moline
Steve Sullivan, Moline
Jackie Turner, Galesburg
Pete Voss, Davenport Kimberly Road
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a global network of over 500 premier real estate firms. Leading RE 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. Relocation division is lead by Deb Boland, and her team assists with moving in or out of the area, providing community tours, finding second homes and senior living. Contact our relocation specialist for more information at www.melfosterco.com
Mel Foster Co. has been awarded the Website Quality Certification (WQC) from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® , an international network of more than 500 premier real estate firms. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) presents the certification to member companies that demonstrate best practices in website design, technology and service.
Mel Foster Co’s website, www.melfosterco.com, earned the certification after achieving superior marks on a range of measurements, including usability and performance, design and content, interactivity, customer service and Internet lead management, search engine optimization and mobile. The website was evaluated by Virtual Results, LLC, a real estate internet and social marketing firm enlisted by LeadingRE to review the websites.
WQC is a program available only to firms affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and is awarded based on criteria that is updated annually to reflect the latest in internet marketing strategies. To maintain the certification, companies are re-certified every two years.
“We are delighted to recognize the 117 companies that earned the WQC this year and applaud them for creating websites that attract and engage today’s consumers, providing useful information on homes and communities and supporting them with local expertise,” said Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® President/CEO Pam O’Connor.
“We are thrilled to receive this designation again as we continually enhance our website to ensure users are getting the best possible experience and pertinent details from our site,” said Mel Foster Co. President of Brokerage, Lynsey Engels.
When shopping for a home, check out transitional city neighborhoods that might just be on the verge of revitalization. You might find a great price or a really unique home that’s in the middle of the action. There are several reasons why you should consider all of your options when searching for your new home.
Urban neighborhoods are home to coffee shops and corner stores. Boutiques and other quirky shops can add the character you might be missing in a traditional suburban setting.
Young couples or singles, who aren’t ready to give up a thriving nightlife, are often drawn to downtown lofts, converted warehouse spaces or even upper floors of shops and restaurants. Living downtown may give you more opportunities to make friends who are your age.
Many times, living in an urban area gives you easier access to public transportation that could significantly reduce your annual transportation budget, if you’re fortunate enough to no longer need the use of a car.
Farmer’s markets and food co-ops are also becoming very popular in urban areas. With access to organic and farm fresh food, your health and wallet could be thanking you. Another point of consideration is that living in densely populated areas gives you the potential for exposure to other ethnic groups and cultures. New and interesting food and customs could become just another perk of your new neighborhood.
Downtown homes or lofts are often smaller than homes out in the burbs. This means less to clean, a smaller yard or maybe no yard to mow, and your utility bill may be smaller in a smaller home. You have your whole life to move out to the suburbs. Look around your downtown for the hot spots that fit your budget and style.
Count on a Mel Foster Co. agent to help you identify up and coming neighborhoods and the programs that may make homeownership more affordable to you. Find an agent at your local office.
Vacation home sales are on the rise, with many people buying for a vacation home to use now and retire to later.
Second home buyers tend to be in their 40s and 50s, are still working, have children who are starting their own families and no obligations to care for aging parents. They are using their vacation home as a meeting place to gather everyone during holidays or other significant family holidays.
When the home isn’t being used, it generates rental income. In some locations, the rental fees can completely cover the mortgage, taxes and fees of homeownership, giving you a vacation home for free that can eventually become your second home in retirement.
Purchasing a vacation home where you’d eventually like to retire allows you to establish community ties for a smooth transition into retirement later. It’s also a great trial run. It gives you a glimpse into where you might want to spend your golden years before the time arrives and you have to make a firm commitment.
There are also financial benefits to owning a second home. First is the appreciation that will happen over time, especially if you purchase in a popular resort area. However even modest appreciation over time is acceptable given all the benefits of second home ownership.
One of the smartest things you can do before buying a home is getting yourself pre-qualified. By getting pre-qualified, you’ll get an idea of what your mortgage might cost, ahead of time. This can help you prepare your budget, set your expectations and strengthen your confidence to negotiate when you’re ready to make an offer.
What is pre-qualification?
Pre-qualification gives you an estimate of what you could potentially borrow. It is based on information you give on your income, assets and credit. Many times a pre-qualification can be done online and is offered by many lenders at little to no cost. It is however just an estimation, and not a guarantee of any type of loan.
Why get pre-qualified?
Once you know how much of a monthly payment you are able to afford, and you’ve figured out a budget for yourself, a pre-qualification will allow you to estimate a loan option to fit your needs. You’ll also have a better idea of which homes you can afford during your search.
What documentation do I need in order to get pre-qualified?
You will need proof of income, this could include recent pay stubs, or W-2 statements from the past two years. You should also bring a copy of your tax return for the past two years, as well as proof of any alimony or additional income. You’ll also want to bring proof of your assets, including bank account statements to show you have the money for a potential down payment. Don’t forget your driver’s license and social security card, as the lender will need these to access your credit report.
Pre-qualification can help you be fully prepared to purchase that home you’ve been eyeing. You can get a head start by using the mortgage calculators to determine your monthly payment, figure out how much home you can afford and make a decision about renting versus buying.
Call it recycling on a grand scale. Homebuyers who want their purchase to be more environmentally friendly are turning to older homes instead of building new. In fact, architect Carl Elefante coined the phrase, “the greenest building is the one that is already built.” What he meant by that is that environmental resources that would be used to build a building’s replacement are often times spared by restoring or repurposing an existing structure.
Did you know that it can take up to 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome the energy and climate change impacts caused during the construction process? Building reuse offers significant environmental savings when compared to the energy consumption of demolition and new construction.
Older buildings constructed prior to reliance on mechanical heating, cooling and lighting systems utilize what nature offers as part of their design. This can help reduce your energy use, helping you save on heating and cooling your home.
Go green and consider purchasing an older home that just needs a little TLC. Use the option to search by Year Built by clicking here to find a home you can recycle.
It’s important to select the right type of mortgage for your financial situation, but understanding your options can be difficult. Your Mel Foster Co. agent <link to find an agent> is your resource for proving information so you are able to make a knowledgeable decision regarding a mortgage. This quick list explains the top three most popular loan types.
1. Fixed-interest Mortgage
A fixed-interest mortgage is a type of loan that has a set interest rate. Most fixed mortgages are usually 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The most common length of time is 30 years, as it provides the lowest monthly payment for homeowners. Keep in mind that most of the first few years of the payment are heavily focused on the interest that will be paid off, and very little actually goes towards the principal. You can determine your monthly payment for a fixed-interest mortgage with the Mel Foster Co. monthly payment calculator.
2. Adjustable-rate Mortgage
An adjustable-rate mortgage or ARM is a loan with a variable interest rate. The interest rate will change after a designated period of time, determined by the lender. As a borrower, you may benefit if the interest rate is lowered, but you will also be exposed to potentially higher interest rates. The interest rate will remain steady for an agreed upon time, and won’t change until the next adjustment period. These types of mortgages are easier to obtain in situations when a fixed-interest mortgage isn’t an option.
3. Interest-only Loan
An interest-only loan focuses on paying only the interest first. An example would be a 5-year fixed-30 mortgage. This means that for the first five years, you are only paying the interest, and not contributing any money towards the principal. The interest rate is fixed, but may change after five years. Once the five years is up, you begin to pay interest along with the principal cost. This will increase your payments significantly, even if the interest rate doesn’t change. This option is meant for someone who believes that they will earn more money in the future, or currently has their money tied up somewhere else. Just always remember to save your money for after the initial five years.
Mel Foster Co. recently named Shannon Mandsager as its Director of Business Development. Lynsey Engels, President of Real Estate Brokerage at Mel Foster Co. is pleased to welcome Ms. Mandsager to this key position on its growing team. Ms. Mandsager was previously with a local bank and has a long track record in retail sales and marketing.
Ms. Mandsager will take the lead working with the management team and agents to build and execute a partnership strategy and opportunities that will enhance Mel Foster Co.’s market footprint and accelerate the growth of the company.
Engels comments, “I am very pleased to welcome Shannon to Mel Foster Co. She is an excellent fit and will bring a new level of energy to our staff and agents. In an industry where new tools and technology are introduced on a daily basis, Shannon will be in charge of navigating these new ideas and keeping them in the forefront of agent’s minds to enhance their business in an effort to maintain a high level of service to our customers in the Quad City and surrounding areas.”
She was born and raised in Eldridge, graduated with honors in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Sales from University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Ms. Mandsager will be licensed in Iowa and Illinois and works out of the corporate office at 3211 E. 35th Street Court in Davenport.
Most sellers have tunnel vision when it comes to getting their home ready for sale. It’s important to view your home as a potential buyer would. That paint chip you hardly notice or that collection of family photos running all the way up your staircase will jump out as negatives to buyers. To get top dollar, focus on making your home appealing to potential buyers, instead of appealing to yourself.
Start by removing any clutter around the house. This will help buyers envision themselves living in your home. Although less is more, it is still important to leave the essentials in your rooms. This will give a frame of reference for how much space really is in the room and how furniture can be placed. If the room is completely empty, it may appear to be smaller than it really is. Also, remove anything that is personal in the house such as family photos, religious symbols and everything on the refrigerator.
Next you should focus on all of the things you may have ignored for the past few months. Does your front door have some paint chips? How about that leaky faucet? Quick fixes can get you higher offers.
If you have walls that are painted bright colors, or may come off as taste-specific, consider getting a fresh can of a neutral color and diffuse the bold walls. Although your child may love her fuchsia walls, someone who is just moving in would most likely appreciate a more neutral color. Taking the time to paint the room is an important step when trying to stage the home because it lets someone else see a blank canvas that they can paint their dreams on.
Mel Foster Co. has several agents who are certified in the staging of your property to attract potential buyers. Accredited Staging Professionals® (ASP) are highly skilled and certified in creating just the right atmosphere that will appeal to all five senses of every buyer.