My Blog

Tax Abatements

Did you know many cities around the Des Moines metro area offer tax abatements?  This is a program that will reduce or eliminate the amount of property tax homeowners will pay on new construction properties.  These programs are typically put into place to help residential growth in certain communities.  Many cities around offer these programs and can be a significant savings for several years.  Currently the Cities of Altoona, Bondurant, Pleasant Hill, and Elkhart are all offering a tax abatement program.

Amazon Fulfillment Center Coming to Iowa

Finally the mystery is over regarding the development of land in bondurant. Speculation was Amazon was coming to town. That rumor was confirmed with a press release on February 6th. Amazon is building a 645,000 sqft fulfillment center in SE Bondurant. It is expected to bring 1,000 jobs with it. It will be interesting to see how Bondurant grows. Several housing projects are being worked out to accommodate the anticipated influx of residents. The facility is expected to begin production Fall 2020.

Send A Virtual Valentine

Put a smile on a child's face! Children’s hospitals around the country are holding “Valentine Drives”  and asking everyone who can to send their patients a virtual valentine. It takes less than a minute and is free. All you have to do is choose a participating hospital(s) via your computer, mobile device or tablet and then choose a card to send. Write your own Valentine message or choose a pre-written one. 

To find a hospital accepting virtual Valentine cards for patients click on the link below:

Selling During Winter Months

No doubt about it spring is the most popular time of the year to sell your home.  However, the cold dreary days of winter could be a better time of year and net you the most money.  Here are the top reasons why you should consider selling in the colder months of the year:

  • Lower Inventory, Less Competition
  • You Are Able to Showcase Cold Weather Features-  Hot tubs, fireplaces, and outdoor chiminea's are more appealing in colder months.
  • Buyers Are More Serious- "Tire kickers" tend to be out spring and summer when the weather if nice.  Buyer's looking in a snow storm are looking to purchase.
  • Buyer's have More Money- Many times employers will pay out holiday bonuses or end-of-year bonuses which nets more money than in the early months of the year.  Taxes are paid and refunds also help many buyers with down payment.
  • Corporate Relocations- New year brings a new budget so many companies will have more dollars to spend on employee relocations.

HyVee to Invest in Rural Areas

Hy-Vee announced the purchase of six former Shopko locations across Iowa.  These store fronts will reopen as Hy-Vee Dollar Fresh stores.  Shopko files for bankruptcy in January 2019 and ended up liquidating due to a lack of a buyer.  The Hy-Vee Dollar Fresh stores were implemented for smaller more rural communities.  The Shopko buildings recently purchased that will be converted to Hy-Vee Dollar Fresh stores are located in Cresco, Dyersville, Hampton, Oelwein, Vinton, and Waukon.  The new stores should open late summer/early fall 2020.

Award for Prairie Ridge Sports Complex

Congratulations is in order for Elliott Josephson, the Facilities Superintendent for Prairie Ridge Sports Complex. Elliott was honored as the 2019 Sports Turf Manager of the Year.

If you have been to the Prairie Ridge Sports Complex you will understand why Mr. Josephson was given this honor. It is challenging to keep a complex of this size a first class facility. It is obvious the surrounding communities and sports organizations also believe this is a top notch facility. The City of Ankeny hosts over 13,000 events and 2,000 tournament games yearly. The Ankeny Girl's Softball Association, Little League, Lacrosse, Junior Football and Iowa Rush all call Prairie Ridge Sports Complex home.

In total the sports complex houses 15 baseball fields, 9 soccer fields, 6 softball fields, 5 football fields, 4 concession stands with restrooms, 2 playgrounds, and 2 fishing ponds. As you can see it is a big undertaking to manage and maintain a facility such as this. Congratulations to The City of Ankeny and Elliott Josephson!

City of Ankeny Sets New Growth Records


The City of Ankeny continues to see a strong investment in commercial and residential development as it sets new records in 2019. The city permitted a record amount of new investment valued at more than $400 million and platted more acres than ever before.  Over the past six years, the City of Ankeny has permitted more than $2.1 billion worth of projects, an average of $350 million annually.

Highlights of 2019’s construction includes:

  • 2019 was a record year with $416 million total valuation in new construction projects.
  • A record number of 936 acres were platted creating 1,254 lots.
  • Permits were issued for 35 new commercial buildings, with $152 million in total non-residential valuation.
  • $257 million permitted in total new residential valuation, resulting in 1,126 total new residential units including:
    • 544 single family detached homes
    • 397 townhomes
    • 185 multifamily units
  • Approximately $7.5 million in other additions, alterations and miscellaneous permits issued.

“Ankeny continues to see growth across all sectors, with non-residential projects being permitted at record levels the past two years,” said City Manager David Jones. “The recent increase in commercial and industrial development is significant—in terms of number of projects, level of investment and number of jobs created—and important to our overall strategy in terms of tax base diversification and economic opportunities in the community. Ankeny continues to see robust residential development as well, particularly single family residential development.”

Ankeny saw a mix of businesses and homeowners relocating, expanding and remodeling. The City issued 2,563 total permits, third most behind 2016 and 2017, when 2,719 and 2,597 permits were issued respectively. The City annexed 391 acres; all annexation was voluntary.

Notable construction projects for 2019 include: Casey’s Retail Company headquarters expansion; The Opus Group and Hubbell Realty Company warehouse projects; new office/service buildings for Ruan Transport Corporation and Ankeny Sanitation Inc.; and The Toro Company’s expansion. In addition, several service oriented businesses expanded and opened throughout Ankeny.
All information obtained from The City of Ankeny,

Finding The Right Lender

If you are looking to own your own home not just any property will do.  That should be the same statement for the mortgage lender you choose as well.  Interest rate should not be the deciding factor when picking a lender.  There are lots of lending institutions pre-approve you.  However, we do recommend a local lender.  Iowa is an abstract state, meaning clear title must be proven before a property can be sold. All other states have Title Guaranty which is an insurance policy incase title is not clear upon close.  This means our processes are different in Iowa so using a local lender leads to a much easier purchase.  Online lenders like Quicken Loans or Rocket Mortgage will funnel your information out to many lenders (like an octopus with tentacles). All those lenders will pull credit reports and can eventually hurt your credit score if too many pulls happen is a short amount of time.  

There are also mortgage options that will assist with down payment or offer lower down payment options.  Many programs will accept a lower credit score opening up homeownership to more people.  The right loan originator will be able to assess your personal situation and find a mortgage program that fits your needs.  Some lenders will also offer a closing guarantee.  This  happens when all closing requirements are met.  The lending institution will guarantee your closing date.  

As you can see there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a loan originator.  Ask questions, be confident the loan originator you choose will work in your best interest.  Don't let interest rate be the only deciding factor.

A New Year


Happy New Year!

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