Iowa’s Creative Corridor is one of the most powerful economic regions in the Midwest. Located between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, this booming region boasts a growing population and a strong economy, spurring the development of dozens of new neighborhoods every year.
How do you go about selecting your next neighborhood or even know what’s available? With so many choices available for house hunters, the process of finding the right development or neighborhood can be daunting.
Efficient House Hunting
For efficiency, gather as much information as you can online before you actually go out and start looking at houses. Our real estate listings are a great resource for getting a feel for what’s available on the market currently. You can also reach out to local builders for information, starting with a few of our favorite developers in the Iowa City area. Of course, a chat with your friendly, neighborhood real estate agent is always a good idea as well.
Then narrow down your search by establishing your budget and the minimum requirements you need in a home. Establish your “must haves” and stick to it. If you need four bedrooms or a certain number of garages, don’t waste time looking at houses that don’t meet your needs.
Get Up Close and Personal Before You Buy
One of the oldest clichés in the real estate book, “Location, Location, Location” is about much more than just, you know, location. It’s also about the personality and quirks unique to every area. Each neighborhood has its own character (and sometimes several of them) so don’t just drive through the neighborhood once.
Get out and walk around. Visit at different times of the day and night, not just on open house days. Talk to homeowners about their experiences with the neighborhood and the builder. People will talk – especially if they have a beef to share. Chances are you’ll hear all positive reports – it is a new development, after all. But you may also find out that the house next door is the one where all the teenagers gather to party, or that all the houses on your side of the street get water in the basement with every heavy rain.
Create a House Hunting System
Once you start looking at homes in earnest, keep a journal and take pictures of every home you visit, whether it’s a model home, a set appointment or an open house. It may be hard to believe when you start looking, but the houses will all start to run together in your memory after just a few weeks of house hunting.
Whether you are buying a condominium or a single family home, many new developments now have Home Owners Associations (HOAs) and the fees and rules that come with it. Check with the developer about potential HOA fees and rules and record this information as well. Some HOAs offer homeowners lovely conveniences and advantages but they may also be expensive and very strict. If this is a deal breaker for you, it’s better to know it early – before you fall in love with a house.
If the development is still under construction, check to see how long until the construction is finished. Be sure to ask if that beautiful view you like so much will be obstructed by new construction in the next few years. If your developer can’t (or won’t) tell you, you can visit the city planner’s office to see what’s in store for a particular location. You can also ask your real estate agent about plans for the area.
If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids area, give us a call today and the real estate agents of The Johnson Team will be glad to help you with all of your real estate needs.