Everything to know for first time homebuyers

Everything to know for the first time homebuyers in Mason City, New Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, United States.property owner tips

Everything to Know for the First Time Homebuyers in Mason City

10 May 2021

If you are thinking about buying a home for the first time, this article covers all the aspects there is to know to become a pro buyer

Everything to Know for First Time Homebuyers

Buying a home is like a dream to many, and the feeling is overwhelming. It is a milestone that every eager beaver fantasizes about and breaks sweat throughout their career to achieve it. Apart from the prodigious notion, one should also keep in mind that it is a matter of consequential financial decisions. It is hard to predict whether the investment will turn profitable or a vivid nightmare and if it’s worth the truckload of work. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

If done right it can be one of the safest investments and best decisions you have ever made for you and your family’s future, and we are here to make that happen for you. Buckle up that seatbelt because we are going to navigate you through all the processes of buying a new home in Mason City and provide you with the optimum solution at every junction. Besides that, we will be giving some tips before you go searching Mason City homes for sale.

Everything to Know for the First Time Homebuyers in Mason City, Iowa, USA

Real Estate Market of the City

Get yourself familiar with the real estate market in the city when you are planning to buy a new home in the area. A comparative market analysis is a stepping stone to finding that perfect property. We have shortlisted the issues you should be looking for to understand the market:

  • The average home price in the area
  • Percentage of homeowners against tenants
  • Commuting Options
  • Are the property prices stable in this community?
  • Appreciation rate of the property price

Usual Home Prices in the Area

Home prices in Mason city are quite affordable, with a median value of around $100,000, which is pretty fair, compared to the national average of a staggering $220,000. The median listing price per square foot was $80, and the number of days a house stays on the market was 88. Even though the median prices are pretty low, the actual costs will depend on the neighborhood you choose for your home.

Percentage of Homeowners Against Tenants

The homeownership rate in Mason City is 74% which is 11% higher than the national average of 63%. This status shows that people come to this city to settle in peace for its stability. People would have preferred to rent the place instead of spending thousands if the town wasn’t worth the money. The median rental rate in the area is approximately $650, which is significantly lower than the United States’ average of $950. So, people choose this place to become a part of its community. Not only this, but the high ownership also indicates the feasibility of owning a house in this area and how easy going its housing market is.

Commuting Options

If you prefer traveling in public transports instead of private cars, then you will have to deal with some inconvenience in this city. Around 95% of the residents commute by car, and the public transport routes are limited compared to many large cities. Moreover, there is no rail system in the town, and so if you still want to rely on public transports, make sure you look for homes near to those specific routes.

Are property Prices Stable in this Community?

The real estate market can be unpredictable but here, in Mason City, data shows it is stable compared to most markets. In 2009, the market reported the lowest price in history, which was as low as $79,000. By 2021, that has increased to a median of $100,000 with an average increment of 2% by year. Today, the median price per square foot is $80 and is subject to change with your interior options and other advancements. All this indicates that the market doesn’t fluctuate as much as in the other states. This city is a buyer’s market, but the risk of the property’s value plummeting is negligible.

Appreciation Rate of the Property Price

The appreciation rate of the properties in Mason City is indeed slow compared to other states which is good news for the first-timers as they would have to deal with fewer competitions in their house hunt. Another benefit you can take advantage of is the number of requisition homes. Even though it is always upsetting to witness a confiscation, it does give you the chance of buying the property at a much lower rate than it’s worth.

Some Advice You Should Live by

Now that you have become an expert market analyst, it is time to walk you through the next phase of our home buying journey. Here’s a list of the questions and issues you should be asking yourself before buying a property:

What Do I Need in My House?

This is the first question to ask yourself once you have decided to buy a home. Remember, you will never get everything you want in a particular package, so identify what is of utmost importance to you and what you can get flexible with. Maybe it is an extra bedroom, a gym, or a playground. Setting your mind for the amenities you want is the first step of buying the house, and it needs to be done in this early stage and not getting caught up in the excitement later on.

How Much Can You Afford to Spend?

A smart approach to this issue would be not to spend more than 28 percent of your monthly income. Furthermore, avoid searching for houses that are two to three times the cost of your annual earnings.

Start Saving Up for the Down Payment

It is hard to decide how much you should spend on your first home. But you need to plan in advance if you are going to buy one. You will need to save up the down payment as well as the closing costs and if you can cross the 20% threshold, you won’t need to buy the mortgage insurance which will save you a lot of money.

Research Carefully About the Lenders

You will be making a mistake if you don’t examine your options thoroughly before committing to a lender. No matter how much you trust your bank, they might not have the best deal on the table. Talk to as many lenders as possible or at least three or four of them to know what you are qualified for. You can even hire a professional mortgage broker who can do the comparison and research for you when you can search for the perfect home.

Expenses Will Appear Out of the Blue

Mortgage and down payment are not the only expenses you will have to bear. So prepare yourself to pay these small yet important fees that will come your way. Moreover, there will be fees for home inspections, insurance, closing fees, and any last-minute repairs. Make sure you keep some extra cash for any emergencies that may show up.

Contact a Reliable Realtor

If you are a first-time buyer, it won’t be wise for you to deal with the entire process all by yourself. A professional real estate agent can give you more insights into the listings and save you from any trouble in the purchase queue. Get help from a friend or relative for recommendations and feel free to interview several prospective agents before you can conclude. Cross-check the agency’s license with Iowa’s licensing board before making any agreement with the agent.

Examine the Odds Before Considering a Mortgage Plan

In any given circumstances, a lot of factors need to be considered before choosing a mortgage plan. Start with how many years you are willing to spend in this neighborhood. If it’s only for five to ten years, then going with an adjustable mortgage with a low fixed rate could be a better choice for you.

On the contrary, if you choose to stay for a longer time then this plan will not be an ideal choice because the rates can shoot up your payments significantly. In that case, go with a standard fixed-rate and also keep in mind the time you are going to take to pay off the mortgage. While 15 years is an ideal goal, in the long run, a 30 years plan can save you money if you invest wisely.


While it is not essential to get pre-approval for your mortgage, it is a good idea. It helps you to keep your end of the agreement by reassuring the seller that you are qualified for the loan and hold up to your bargain. Besides, it catalyzes the closing processes and minimizes your hassle of moving to a new home. One downside to this is that you will get attached to a particular lender, but this shouldn’t be a problem if you had done your research right when choosing one in the first place.

Negotiate Reasonably with Confidence

Now that you have found your ideal home, make an offer and don’t try to lowball the seller and end up getting tossed up the window. Think of a lucrative yet reasonable figure that is lower than the asking price but still hard to refuse. Inspect every inch of the house and take them into considerations when negotiating the final contract.

Signing off

Keep all these tips in mind while doing your legwork and see how you get the most bang for your buck the next time you go home hunting.

Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash

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