Adel Residential Tax Abatement Update

I wanted to provide an update on the residential tax abatement program in Adel. For years 2011, 2012 and 2013 the city has offered a program that abates 100% property tax for a period of 7 years. The Adel city council just extended the program another three years for 2014,2015,2016. The program has been very successful at adding additional rooftops to the city and as a result the three existing residential subdivisions – Evans View, Parkview Heights and Baileys Grove have totally sold out of lots. Since the abatement has been extended, plans are underway to develop additional homesites. In the meantime, we do have lots available that have been purchased by Well Built Homes and Barnett Construction.

This is an example of a single-family home that we have available in the Parkview Heights neighborhood:

Home Details

We also have some very nice townhomes available in the Evans View neighborhood that also offer the 7 year abatement and no association dues:

Home Details

Please contact me if you would like information on the above homes, available upcoming lots or want more information on the 7-year tax abatement.

New Tax Credit For Iowa First-Time Home Buyers

Iowa Finance Authority announced a great new program this week to put money back in the hands of homebuyers. The Take Credit! Mortgage Credit Certificate provides for an up to $2000 per year tax credit for the life of the mortgage. So essentially you would receive $2000 towards your tax liability. If you liability is zero, you should receive a refund. The money that you receive back effectively reduces your mortgage payment by the amount you receive which in this case ($2000/12) is $166 per month.

As always there are restrictions and limitations. The program is targeted towards first-time homebuyers, veterans and those living intargeted areas. From the IFA website:

  • Applicants must meet Iowa Finance Authority income limits, which vary by county.
  • The purchase price of the home may not exceed $305,000 if located in a Targeted Area or $250,000 if located in a Non-Targeted Area.
  • The home must be located in Iowa.
  • The home buyer must meet one of the following: be a first-time home buyer, purchase a home in a Targeted Area, or be a military veteran who has not previously used a mortgage revenue bond program.

In Polk county, the income limits are $75,000 income for a 1-2 person household and $86,825 for 3+ people living in a household.

This is a great program that makes housing more affordable for many people.

Please contact me if I can provide you with more information or connect you with an approved lender.

Welcome to our updated website

KevinHowe.com logoIf you are a returning visitor, you have probably noticed that KevinHowe.com has been upgraded to a new WordPress theme. We are excited about the new look and additional features to make shopping for a home even easier. Some of the additions include:

  • New mortgage and affordability calculators
  • Current mortgage rates
  • Latest new listings on the Community pages
  • School information on the Community pages
  • User login on the Search pages
  • Addition of Walk Score information on the listing results page
  • Nifty social media sharing icons

Coming soon, update real estate market information on the greater Des Moines area.

We would love to get some feedback on the new design, please leave your comments in the box below .

If you are a return visitor, you have probably noticed that KevinHowe.com has been upgraded to a new WordPress theme. We are excited about the new look and additional features to make shopping for a home even easier. Some of the additions include:

New mortgage and affordability calculators
Current mortgage rates
Social media icons
Latest new listings on the Community pages
User login on the Search pages

New Website Feature – Des Moines Foreclosure Search

We just added a new feature to kevinhowe.com, the ability to view bank-owned foreclosures online. The searches are organized by price-point and contain all the of bank-owned (REO) properties listed in the Des Moines MLS. This includes Des Moines and the surrounding areas. You can browse the listings and get more information on opportunities to purchase foreclosure homes here:

Des Moines Foreclosure Properties

We are happy to be able to offer this capability as a reliable means of identifying REO homes for sale. If you perform a Google seDes Moines foreclosure properties for salearch for Des Moines foreclosures, you will find many companies that claim to offer similiar properties. Unfortunantely the information is often out of date or unreliable.

The homes are segmented by price into two groups, those listed below $100,000 and those listed below $100,000.

Feel free to browse the listings. If you would like to get new foreclosure listings forwarded to you via email the same day they are listed just contact me and let me know which areas and price-ranges you are most interested in.



Where is the Des Moines Real Estate Market headed in 2011?

Forecast for the 2011 Des Moines Real Estate MarketThere has been quite a bit of positive buzz about the market heading into next year. As Steve Harney writes in the KCM Blog, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are predicting increases in sales for 2011:

KCM Blog – Demand for Housing Will Increase in 2011


I expect the Q4 sales numbers to be lower as we have already seen in the October and November sales stats. I think this is mostly due to the fact that most buyers purchased earlier in the yeat to take advantage of the tax credit. As we return to a more normalized “post tax-credit” market for 2011, I believe the Q1 2011 will be stronger.

As Steve mentioned in his post, the overall sales numbers will be higher but home prices are not expected to increase significantly. This means that it will continue to be an excellent time to buy given the fact that prices remain at the bottom along with extremely low interest rates.

Des Moines is named #1 most livable city

MSN just released an article on the top Most-Livable Bargain Markets. Des Moines was named #1. The article sited the number of jobs available in financial and agribusiness, the stable economy and the low median price of housing ($150,000).

While we all know that these are tough economic times (even here) it’s nice iStock_000009189135XSmallto hear that Des Moines may be fairing better than most. It also reinforces what most of us that live or have lived in Iowa know – the quality of life is high. We offer great schools, low crime, easy commutes, a great sense of community and friendly people.

MSN did mention that our climate can be less than ideal at times but that just proves that Iowans are tough!

You can find the article here:

http://realestate.msn.com/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=22334217&GT1=35000#2

Where are the Des Moines real estate bargains?

As the Des Moines real estate market continues to pick up steam, one of the questions that gets asked frequently is “Where are the best buys?”. Typically when most people think of bargains, they think short sales and foreclosures. While there are a lot of these properties available ( and will continue to be for the foreseeable future ) there is another overlooked area – unfinished new construction properties.  I have seen a number of these over the past few weeks that are being offered at well below the cost to build a similar home.

Most of these homes are technically foreclosures or short sales and in most CB067787cases you end up negotiating with a lending institution. However unlike traditional foreclosures you have an opportunity to purchase a home in new condition.

In the Des Moines metro area most of these homes are priced in the $300,000+ price range and are in various stages of construction. In almost every case the homes are enclosed and secured with the exteriors completely to partially finished. On the interior they could be just through framing stage all the way to almost completed and just require floor coverings, counter-tops etc.

The options for completing construction vary depending on the specific property. On some homes the builder is willing to complete construction and close just like any other transaction. In other cases the buyer would be responsible for getting a construction loan and hiring a contractor to finish the project. In this case there is additional effort required by any potential buyer to secure financing, get estimates and hire a contractor.

If you are interested in receiving  more information or exploring the possibilities, please let me know.

Golf course lots at River Valley Golf Community

I wanted to share a video that Julianna Cullen and I recently did for the Open House Television show. The video shots do a great job at highlighting these one-acre homesites located at River Valley Golf in Adel. You really get a good sense of the views and beautiful homes already located there.

Take a look just don’t be too critical of the talent (mine that is, I should have had an extra cup of coffee):

For information about this great neighborhood or Adel, you can visit these websites:

Adel Homes Online

River Valley Golf Community Information

For home listings at River Valley Golf Community, click this link:

River Valley Golf Community Homes For Sale

Who pays the lowest central Iowa property taxes?

A question that often comes up when working with buyers is “How do property taxes compare across different cities in the Des Moines area?”. It’s a relevant question when considering areas to live in, particularly if you are not tied to a specific city, school district, etc.

Before we get into who pays the highest/lowest, it’s important to understand how property taxes are calculated. The basic formula is:

(assessed value x rollback) x tax levy

tax-houseThe assessed value is determined by the county assessor and is based on the market value of your home.  The rollback is set by the state, the rollback for 2008 is .455893. To find the historical rollback figures you can go to here:
http://www.assess.co.polk.ia.us/web/info/rollback/rollback.html

The levy numbers (mill rates) are a combination of local expenses including city, county, school district, hospital and special assessments.  This is the factor you need to consider when comparing taxes in different areas. Since cities, counties and school district boundaries overlap you need to look at the specific tax district for a home you are considering. You can  find the tax levy numbers for Polk County here:
http://auditor.co.polk.ia.us/tax/levies07.pdf

The Dallas County figures are here starting under Sheet 3:
http://www.co.dallas.ia.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=1470

You can see the variations in areas by looking at the above tables.  The totals contained in the tables are based on the valuation per $1,000.

An example tax calculation for a $200,000 home in Clive would be:

(($200,000 x .455893 = $91179) /1000=91.179) x 34 = $3,100

So who has the most favorable rates? You can compare costs by looking at the tax levy tables. In Polk County, an area of Des Moines in the SE Polk school district has a levy of  49.71, that is the highest in the county. Sheldahl in the North Polk school district is currently paying the lowest in Polk County with  a levy of  32.11. How does that affect your tax bill? The  $200,000 home with a levy of 49.71 would be paying $4,532 per year while the same home levied at 32.11 would be paying $2,927.

Most home buyers would consider that to be a significant difference. However, I think it can be a mistake to look a property taxes as the primary factor for considering where you would like to live. There are many other things to consider including school districts and proximity to areas of interest (shopping, recreation, cultural, etc.). Another factor is the overall cost of living, while property taxes may be low in a certain area that savings could easily be spent on increased commute costs.

As always, it pays to do some research upfront and consult a real estate professional when you have questions.

Want to buy a home but concerned about your job?

Anyone who is paying even a little attention to real estate knows that in most areas and price points, we continue to remain in a buyers market. There many good reasons to buy a home right now:

1. Interest rates remain close to record lows
2. There is an $8,000 tax credit available to first-time buyers
3. Inventory and selection remains good
4. Considering the builder/seller incentive, foreclosures, etc., there are plenty of good buys out there

building-blocksUnfortunately as the recession looms on, some buyers are nervous about employment and are hesitant to move forward with their purchase.

Last week Iowa Realty announced a new program – the HELP program from The Rainy Day Foundation. This program is based on similar plans from the auto industry. The essence of the plan is if you lose your job within two years of purchasing your new home, your mortage payments would be covered for up to six months. Some of the details include:

  • The plan is funded by sellers at a cost of $500, buyers can’t purchase it themselves
  • If two people own a home together and one loses their job, the portion of the mortgage payment is pro-rated
  •  There is a two month waiting period

You can read more about it by clicking on the link to this flyer:
http://www.desmoineshomestoday.com/docs/help-flyer.pdf

Feel free to call or write if  you have questions or would like to discuss the program in more detail.