The Ultimate Iowa Home Buyers Guide

The steps to buy your new home!

Mortgage Pre-Approval: It is highly encouraged to get pre-qualified for a mortgage even before you start to look for a home. This way, you know the price of the home you can afford and should be researching.

Loan Application/Documentation: The mortgage application will be completed with information about your income, assets and the type of mortgage you are applying for. At this time your credit report will be pulled to determine credit worthiness. You will be required to provide a variety of information to support your mortgage application. Visit the Skogman Mortgage website to see a breakdown of this information. It’s important to supply the requested information in a timely manner to ensure quick mortgage approval and a smooth home buying process.

The Hunt: You can now begin to look for your new home. Once you have found the right one, your realtor will help negotiate the terms of the sale, including price, possession date and any seller’s concessions, if applicable. You will submit your pre-approval letter along with your offer to the seller, which in a competitive market can tilt a sale in a buyer’s favor. Please discuss the details of the negotiation process and the details of the purchase agreement with your realtor.

Final Application/Locking your interest rate: Once your offer is accepted your Mortgage Application and Good Faith Estimate is revised to reflect the details of the real estate contract. Locking in an interest rate should be discussed.

Insurance: Mortgage companies require fire and hazard insurance on the replacement value of your new home. Flood insurance will also be required if the property is located in a flood zone. Please contact your insurance provider as soon as you have a finalized offer. You will be required to pay the first year’s home owners insurance premium directly to your insurance agent before closing.

Inspections: Most purchase loans require an inspection for termites. If termites are found some problems may need to be repaired before finalizing the sale. In addition you will also be given the opportunity to do a whole home inspection. Please discuss your inspection options with your realtor.

Appraisal: Mortgage companies require an appraisal on all home sales. The appraisal justifies the price you paid for your new homes. In the unlikely event the home does not appraise for the purchase price, you may have the ability to renegotiate your purchase agreement.

Abstracting/Title Opinion: The abstract is a document that will show the history of the property and any liens it might have against it. Liens consist of mortgages, judgments, mechanical liens, etc. An attorney will provide a Title Opinion and will require all liens clear before closing to convey clean title.

Processor’s Review: A loan processor performs a final review of your mortgage request; making sure all documents are collected and filled out correctly. Your mortgage packet is then forwarded to the mortgage company for final loan approval.

Underwriter’s Review: Based on the information sent by the loan processor, the underwriter makes the final decision to approve your mortgage. At this time additional information may be request before final loan approval is granted.

Approval: The underwriter gives the final approval for financing and the closing time and location are chosen.

Closing: Final mortgage documents are reviewed and signed. This will take approximately one hour. If you are required to bring funds to closing, a certified check will be required. Your photo ID will also be required.

Move in and enjoy your new home!

Single Family New Construction Program

The Cities of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED), are offering the third round of the Single Family New Construction Program in another effort to replace the homes lost during the flood in June of 2008. The program offers a 25% grant to approved buyers in the form of a five year forgivable loan at 20% a year.

Qualified Buyers must be able to:

  • Qualify for and obtain their own mortgage
  • Meet income requirements

Please contact us for more information on how to qualify.

Guaranteed Sales Program

Sell your home without the stress of having TWO house payments!

Have you found your new home in the Iowa City or Cedar Rapids area and are ready to make the move? What happens if you don’t sell your current home in time? Can you afford double house payments? Skogman Realty’s Guaranteed Sale Program could be the perfect solution for you!

How it works:

Work with your Skogman Realty agent to write an offer on any home listed in the Iowa City or Cedar Rapids MLS – subject to an acceptable guarantee purchase of your home.

A licensed appraiser will establish the fair market value of your home and Skogman Realty will provide you with a written purchase guarantee at a mutually agreed price.

If your home has not sold within 120 days Skogman will buy your house for the guaranteed price – giving you the ability to move into your new home!

What this means for you:

  • No double house payments! Which means no double utility payments and no holding costs!
  • Peace of mind! You are able to move forward with the purchase of your new home and make plans to move knowing you will have your existing home sold!
  • Ability to sell your home for more than the guaranteed price! Just like you we want to sell your home for more than the guarantee and will have 120 days to make that happen!


Some restrictions apply.

Location, Location, Location

How to find out all the details about a neighborhood before you buy.

No No’s for the Homebuyer

There are several things that should be avoided before buying a house.

Common Mistakes

Find out the most common mistakes people make when buying a home.

Closing Costs

Don’t forget about the closing costs. Find out what type of closing costs to expect.

Home Warranties

Have you heard of home warranties? What are home warranties and do you really need one?

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

What you need to know about adjustable rate mortgages.


Do you really know what escrow means to you?

Interest Only vs. Traditional Loans

What is the difference between an interest only loan and a traditional loan?

Closing Countdown

The trauma of moving can be an added stress, we offer this advice to make things calmer before closing.

Home Inspections

Choosing the right house for you is a critical and important decision.

B & H Builders


3555 Dolphin Dr SE
Iowa City, Iowa

Skogman Listing Agents

Gwen Johnson

Gerard Homes


Iowa City, Iowa

Skogman Listing Agents

Gwen Johnson

Platinum Custom Homes


279 W Goldfinch Dr
Tiffin, Iowa 52340-9431

Skogman Listing Agents

Gwen Johnson

Skogman Homes


411 1st Ave SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401

Skogman Listing Agents

Gwen Johnson

Whether you are moving to or relocating from the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids Corridor Area let the Johnson Team assist in making it a seamless transaction.  Whether you need assistance in moving companies, mortgage lenders, or finding the perfect Realtor, the Johnson Team can help.  We’ve spent the last two decades welcoming new residents to the corridor area and providing them with helpful relocation information to make the transition just a little easier. Let us take the worries and stress out of your big move.  Please contact us for more details.

Moving to the Iowa City Area

Let us help assist you in your move to the Iowa City Area.

Moving to Cedar Rapids Area

Welcome to East Central Iowa – home of Cedar Rapids, Corridor, and Iowa City.

Mortgage Credit Certificate

The Iowa Finance Authority is offering a new Mortgage Credit Certificate Program that allows eligible home buyers to reduce their households federal tax liability every year for the life of their mortgage.

The tax credit may be up to 50% of the homeowners annual interest paid on the mortgage – up to $2,000 per year.


  • 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 property must be single-family, located in Iowa and be the primary residence.
  • The home buyer must meet one of the following:
    • Be a first-time home buyer
    • Purchase a home in a Targeted Area
    • Be a military veteran who has not previously used a mortgage revenue bond program.

How to Apply:

1. Visit an Iowa Finance Authority Take Credit! Participating Lender and apply for the Take Credit! program when applying for your mortgage.
2. Pay the Take Credit! application fee of $200.
3. Upon approval, you will receive the Mortgage Credit Certificate in the mail after closing.
4. Submit a copy of the Mortgage Credit Certificate with your tax documents each year to claim the tax credit.

Mortgage Information

University of Iowa Community Credit Union

Pete Johnson

Towncrest Branch
Phone: 319-341-2213
Mobile: 319-400-1975

Ryan Doehrmann

Iowa Avenue Branch
Phone: 319-341-2130

Tami McGary

Mormon Trek Branch
Phone: 319-341-2126

Jason Spengler

Marion Branch
Phone: 319-730-3208

Eric Baumgarth

North Liberty Branch
Phone: 319-341-3070
Mobile: 319-321-5106

Matt Frascht

Coralville Branch
Phone: 319-341-3062

Jeff Nielsen

Mormon Trek Branch
Phone: 319-341-4510

Hills Bank & Trust

Matt Olson

Muscatine Ave, Iowa City Location
Phone: 319-688-4604
Cell: 319-321-9542

Tammy Smith

Coralville Location
Phone: 319-358-6123

Todd Davenport

North Liberty Location
Phone: 319-626-8762

Stephanie (Hasselmann) Schumacher

Mount Vernon Location
Phone: 319-866-7032

Chris Jenn

S. Gilbert Iowa City Location
Phone: 319-358-2222

Kevin Bachus

South Gilbert Iowa City Location
Phone: 319-358-2233

Andy Brandt

Coralville Location
Phone: 319-358-6113

Residential Mortgage

Ron Erwin

Coralville Location
Phone: 319-354-7501

Jessica Grieving

Coralville Location
Phone: 319-354-7501

Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank

Jeff Jarrett

Iowa City Location
Phone: 319-341-5900

The Johnson Team

The Johnson Team