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Iowa State Bank Blog

The Ultimate Guide for the First Time Home Owner

Mortgages

The journey to becoming a first time owner is an exciting and personal process. With questions ranging from price, commodities, to neighborhoods and more, the task of finding your ideal property can seem daunting. At Iowa State Bank we want to help you make the most of your home buying experience with our guided route to home ownership. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the view as we take you step by step through the first time home buying process.

  1. Assess your personal finances. Take a good hard look at your current sources of income, in addition to the underlying expenses you have each month. Determine if your funds can support the cost of a monthly mortgage, property taxes, home insurance, and all the other associated costs of home ownership.
  2. Mortgage Pre-Approval. Once you’ve decided to make the jump into home ownership it’s time to determine what your ideal purchase price will look like. Work with your mortgage lender to decide on the best price range for you and your family. After determining your financing needs together, the bank will evaluate your credit history award you with a pre-approval letter for the amount they will agree to finance.
  3. Find “The House.” Here comes the fun part – house hunting! Pair up with a reputable realtor from the area to look at houses that do not exceed the approved purchase price. You may look at six homes, or thirteen, but once you find the right property you’ll know it’s the one!
  4. Get an approved offer. After touring the property and checking for any major repairs, speak with your realtor about putting in an offer on the house at price within your budget. The seller may counter with a different price point, and negotiations for the offer can be discussed with your realtor. When you and the seller have agreed to a purchase price and a finalized offer is signed you officially have an accepted offer to purchase your future home!
  5. Speak with your mortgage lender. Now that you’ve found your new place, your mortgage lender can gather accurate tax information and further specifics for your mortgage financing. Reach out to confirm the terms of the loan prior to closing to help ensure a smooth transition.
  6. Home Inspection. Since you and the buyer now have an accepted agreement it’s time to fully inspect the property you intend on buying. Speak with your realtor for recommended home inspectors in the area, and set up a time when both you and the realtor can be present. The home inspector will detail notes about the property concerning safety hazards and other important repairs that be taken care of at the sellers expense.
  7. Close the offer. After all the paperwork is finalized, and you complete the final walk through of the home, it’s finally time receive your mortgage financing and close the home offer.
  8. The House is yours. All your hard work has paid off and you are now a home owner! Celebrate this monumental achievement by inviting family and friends over for a moving or house warming party!

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful cottage in the country, new construction in the city, or a happy hideaway in the suburbs, Iowa State Bank can help you with all your financing needs. Stop by the bank or give us a call at (319) 753-2265 and get started on your home buying journey today!

How-To Save $1,000,000 by Retirement

Retiring

 

Retirement may seem an eternity away; however, even if it’s a dream 20 years down the road, saving for retirement shouldn’t wait until the goal is in sight. Rule of thumb says you’ll need $1,000,000 in savings to retire comfortably. Our experts at Iowa State Bank recommend taking the following steps to save with the future in mind:

  • Determine when you want your $1 million. The typical age of retirement is 65, but you may be shooting for a few years earlier or later. Whatever the age affects how much you need to save each month, so calculate years left to save based on current age and breakdown monthly savings requirements thereafter.
  • Start saving ASAP. Compound interest rewards those that begin saving earlier rather than later. A $10,000 investment at age 25 could yield tens of thousands of dollars more by 65 than if that same $10,000 were invested at 35.
  • Spend less than you save. It’s basic math. You’ll have money left over only if income exceeds expenses. Buying a home within your range, purchasing cars secondhand, and paying for vacations out of savings and not on credit protects you from dipping into debt.
  • Opt for automatic. Research your employer’s 401k or retirement-based plans and determine what percent you’d like funneled from your paycheck and into your savings. If your employer matches contributions up to a limit, work to reach their maximum to maximize your savings.
  • Save beyond your 401k. Expect the unexpected. A flooded basement or dying car engine can send you spiraling out of your financial plan if you haven’t budgeted for rainy days. Set up a $1,000 emergency fund as soon as possible, and work to expand it to anywhere from 6-12 months of income to protect you from larger surprises, like medical issues or unemployment.

The road to a million takes time and discipline, but it’s exceedingly possible. For further savings strategies and investment options, make an appointment today to meet with one of our trained financial advisors.

The Top 10 Things to Add Value to Your Home

Home Equity

Just like purchasing your home, selling it is a journey all its own. Whether you’re aiming to sell your home in one year or five, you can make a number of small changes that offer a big return on your home’s value. Try these key improvements and see the effect on your next home assessment.

  1. An eye-catching entrance. As the gateway into your home, your front door will set the tone for what’s within. Update your door bell, paint the front door, and hang a spring wreath to tie it all together.
  2. Energy-efficient updates: Updating appliances, windows, and fixtures, to their more green counterparts can set your home apart with the attractive promise of future savings.
  3. Low-maintenance landscaping: While flowers are eye-catching, shrubs and drought-resistant greenery make great visual impact with the promise of less hassle.
  4. A thorough clean. A deep clean of carpets, curtains, and corners will make your home sparkle and create a positive first impression. Hiring a professional cleaning service may also help to remove hard-to-clean grime and overlooked areas.
  5. De-cluttered rooms. A tidy house doesn’t always feel open. Heavy curtains, overstuffed couches, and rooms devoid of sunlight can make buyers cautious of square footage. Rid the room of nothing but bare essentials and simplistic furniture to maximize the area of the space.
  6. Extra mirrors. To double the feel of any room, strategically place mirrors to create an illusion of extra space.
  7. Small updates to big places. Kitchens and bathrooms are focal points in the selling process. Without the time and cost of a major remodel, small updates like new lighting, fresh paint, or modern accessories can add value to your home on a budget.
  8. Revamped flooring: Thin or threadbare carpets can raise alarms for buyers as they visualize the daunting need to replace the tired flooring. As your budget allows, replace your home’s carpet beginning high-traffic areas and working outwards.
  9. Modern lighting. Updating light fixtures to a timeless and simple feel, help to elevate a home’s design and gives the potential buyer a blank canvas to imagine life in their new home.
  10. A professional opinion. In under an hour, a trained interior designer can provide suggestions for small tweaks, such as furniture arrangement or paint color adjustments, which can increase your home’s value with limited investment.

While improvements are not a guarantee of improved value, they can make all the difference when drawing in interested buyers. If some of your home-improvement projects require a bigger investment than your budget expected, our lending officers at Iowa State Bank can work to help you secure the home equity line of credit you need.

 

Teaching Children the Value of Money in 5 Simple Lessons

Financial Education

Building a successful financial future for your little one starts with a strong foundation. At Iowa State Bank we offer financial opportunities for all ages! Grow the building blocks of fiscal understanding with your children using these fun and easy lessons.

  1. See the value of savings: Before they understand the concept of retirement, help them see the advantage of long term savings. Just as companies offer to match their employee’s savings plan contributions, offer to match your child’s investment in a purchase. If they save for half the amount, you’ll contribute the other half.

 

  1. Create a goal chart: Saving for a car, a college degree, or a home takes years of planning. Let your child see the value of long term savings by helping them visually track progress in their own investment. Choose a purchase such as a new tech device or a day trip to an amusement park. Based on their allowance and other sources of income, draw a column of boxes to represent the number of weeks of savings it will require, then draw an X or place a sticker in each box once they save the weekly amount.

 

  1. Open a savings account: An interest-bearing savings account can help your child track their money as it expands through simple deposits and compound interest. Open an account for your child early on to educate them on the concept of finances, and have them deposit a percentage of their allowance each month to see their own wealth grow.

 

  1. Demonstrate checking: When your child is comfortable with complex addition and subtraction, have them assist you as you track your deposits and purchases while balancing your checkbook. Show them a bank statement and explain the different components, identifying which numbers help you balance your checking account. Take this opportunity to explain the relationship between savings and checking accounts and give examples of why and when you would use each.

 

  1. Set an example: Your children look to you to set a precedent, so if you save, they save, and if you spend, they spend. Set up a savings jar at home for extra change and designate these additional funds to fun family events such as ice cream trips, movie nights, and more. Show them the power of savings one coin at a time!

 

Iowa State Bank wants to see you and your little ones succeed. Stop in today to learn about our various savings account options!

Learn the Do’s and Don’t of Home Buying

Mortgage

Begin the journey of purchasing your new home with Iowa State Bank! We’ll help guide you through the process of securing a new residence for you and your family. Stick with these easy do’s and don’ts and you’ll be on the path to success.

Do:

  • Secure a loan before a home: While the hunt for the first house is exciting, your final decision will depend on the mortgage you can secure. Your first step in the home buying search should take place with a loan officer who can assess whether you qualify for a mortgage, and if so, at what price. This provides a framework guiding the search so you don’t expend time and money on houses outside your means.

 

  • Take your time: The average homeowner occupies their house for nine years before relocating, so additional time spent thoroughly searching for homes can reap a decade of benefit. Track trends in the housing market to buy during the most cost-effective season. Weigh personal, important factors beyond price listing, such as neighborhood quality, length of commute, and potential for expansion and home improvement.

 

  • Consult the professionals: The listing agent represents the interests of the seller, not the buyer. As a first-time home buyer, you’ll need as much trusted, unbiased advice as you can garner. Ask friends and family to recommend their real estate agents so you receive counsel from a professional with a track-record of success.

 

Don’t:

  • Look at homes well over your budget: You set a budget for a reason. Stick to it! Paying more than you designated for a home can financially limit you to update and repair as needed. By spending within your originally determined limit, you’ll avoid heftier mortgages and continue to withhold extra funds for any household incidentals.

 

  • Empty savings into a down payment: Securing your mortgage requires a down payment. Putting down less than 20% requires you to buy mortgage insurance. To avoid this added expense, some home buyers drain their savings to cover the down payment upfront. Liquidating your account, however, leaves you without a safety net in the event of job loss or medical emergency. The expense of mortgage insurance is worth the financial cushion you can leave in your account, and you can always eliminate the insurance once you’ve paid off 20% and opt to refinance your mortgage.

 

  • Speed through the closing: The end is in sight, but don’t let the glow of the finish line obscure your view of the paperwork. Review documents with a fine-tooth comb, double check that nothing has been altered in your agreement, and ensure that it describes your understanding of the transaction to a “T”. A day or two of extra analyzing can save you years of headaches!

 

At Iowa State Bank, we offer a number of mortgage options to make securing your home as feasible as possible. To schedule your first meeting with one of our knowledgeable mortgage bankers, give us a call at (319) 753-2265.

How-To Purchase Your New Vehicle: Auto Financing 101

auto financing

Purchasing a new vehicle is always an exciting venture. Here at Iowa State Bank we want to help you maximize your buying experience with a trusted and affordable auto loan. Before you start roaming the lots, glance at our easy auto check list to see what type of vehicle you and your budget are searching for.

Determine if you want a new or used vehicle.

Many auto dealers today offer both new and used. While new can offer updated technology and the assurance of no prior owners, choosing a used vehicle can drastically diminish cost and offers a comparable quality with moderate mileage.

Decide on a budget and a timeline.

When choosing the right vehicle to purchase, there are many questions to help you research which option may be best on your pocket book in the long run.

-How long do you want to drive this vehicle?

-What does your budget allow you to spend for the down payment and installments?

-When do you need your vehicle by?

-What type of MPG do you need to keep gas costs within your overall budget?

-How long do you want to be paying the loan off? (0-5 years)

With these questions in mind you can better view the credentials needed in the ideal vehicle for you and your family.

Save your down payment.

Speak with one of our lenders to confirm your auto financing needs and decide on an appropriate down payment amount. As a general rule 20% of the final cost of the vehicle is a great savings goal!  Be sure to include any maintenance work, tires, or other repairs a car may need in the overall cost.

Practice good car maintenance.

After purchasing your new vehicle you’ll want to keep it prepped and ready for the winter! Try some of these quick tips to keep your car safe and warm this winter.

  1. Warm up your car before you go to work to make scraping ice easier.
  2. Rotate your tires to ensure a stronger tread on tires.
  3. Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle, just in case!
  4. Maintain a full gas tank when possible to avoid freezing gas lines.

Talk to us!

If you have any questions or want to begin the process of auto financing call or stop by today. We’re happy to help, and look forward to making your auto buying dreams a reality.

 

Auto Financing & Maintenance Tips

auto financing

Purchasing a new vehicle is always an exciting venture. Here at Iowa State Bank we want to help you maximize your buying experience with a trusted and affordable auto loan. Before you start roaming the lots, glance at our easy auto check list to see what type of vehicle you and your budget are searching for.

Determine if you want a new or used vehicle.

Many auto dealers today offer both new and used. While new can offer updated technology and the assurance of no prior owners, choosing a used vehicle can drastically diminish cost and offers a comparable quality with moderate mileage.

Decide on a budget and a timeline.

When choosing the right vehicle to purchase, there are many questions to help you research which option may be best on your pocket book in the long run.

-How long do you want to drive this vehicle?

-What does your budget allow you to spend for the down payment and installments?

-When do you need your vehicle by?

-What type of MPG do you need to keep gas costs within your overall budget?

-How long do you want to be paying the loan off? (0-5 years)

With these questions in mind you can better view the credentials needed in the ideal vehicle for you and your family.

Save your down payment.

Speak with one of our lenders to confirm your auto financing needs and decide on an appropriate down payment amount. As a general rule 20% of the final cost of the vehicle is a great savings goal!  Be sure to include any maintenance work, tires, or other repairs a car may need in the overall cost.

Practice good car maintenance.

After purchasing your new vehicle you’ll want to keep it prepped and ready for the winter! Try some of these quick tips to keep your car safe and warm this winter.

  1. Warm up your car before you go to work to make scraping ice easier.
  2. Rotate your tires to ensure a stronger tread on tires.
  3. Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle, just in case!
  4. Maintain a full gas tank when possible to avoid freezing gas lines.

Talk to us!

If you have any questions or want to begin the process of auto financing call or stop by today. We’re happy to help, and look forward to making your auto buying dreams a reality.

 

Post-Honeymoon Finances: Managing Money Together

Honeymoon

After tying the knot, finances can be a tricky subject, but they are an absolutely necessary discussion. As Dave Ramsey says, “If you can talk about money, you can talk about anything.” Getting your finances put together takes some decision making, but here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

Be transparent with one and other.

Begin the conversation with sharing each of your individual financial states, and the goals you have for where you want to be in the coming years. Once everything is out on the table you are able to dissect the differences between your finances and discover any areas that perhaps you differ on. If say one of you has debt and the other does not, then you are able to build a plan to first eliminate your now joint debt. By being open with one and other you can communicate more efficiently and work toward the goals you each share.

Evaluate your account setup.

In today’s world the words “joint checking” don’t always apply. While most common among married spouses with children, a joint checking account can provide a larger sum for paying expenses and saving toward goals. Additionally spouses today are also utilizing a combination of joint and separate accounts to maintain relative independence and have access to personal spending funds. Some couples choose to select separate accounts for all their financial means, paying bills fifty-fifty or perhaps every other. Whichever account scenario you choose, ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page, establishing ground rules acceptable spending habits.

Make a plan and stick to it.

At least once a month set aside time in your day to discuss finances with your spouse. By openly discussing successes and failures in your household finances on a regular basis you maintain a level of security in seeing where you finances stand in conjuncture with your goals each and every month. To be successful your finances your spouse and you must create and maintain a household budget. When creating your monthly budget remember to factor in costs for any loan installments, debt repayment, monthly expenses, and joint or separate savings. By evaluating your budget during your monthly finance discussions you can track you progress and adjust the budget if needed to better reach your joint financial goals.

By utilizing these simple tips you will begin the path to financial security and grow in your monetary capabilities. As Ramsey says, “Marriage is a partnership, and couples can’t win with money unless they’re doing the budget as a team.

Basketball Budgeting: How-To Score with Your Finances

Budgeting

Basketball season is in full swing and there are many comparisons to the sport that can apply to building your own personal budget. From knowing when to pass an expense, to hitting a three with an unexpected bonus, budgeting is a lot like basketball. Learn how to win at structuring your finances with this helpful game plan from Iowa State Bank.

Brush up on your coaching.

Every team is built around the choices of its coach, just as your budget is. The coach selects the players based off merit, potential, and cohesiveness to create a well-rounded team structure. This coach represents you, you decide what direction your budget will take you, and if one piece isn’t working the way you desire it is your responsibility to make the change.

Recruit your team.

Every team has three key player types, centers, forwards, and guards. The center is going to be your all-around player, in the middle of all the action, just like your income. In your budget, this income is going to be after both taxes and your designated savings, this is your center player. Now those savings, giving you a financial buffer, are acting as your guard. Whether it’s a retirement savings, emergency fund, or personal investments, your guard player covers it all. Something additionally has to be driving your budget to financial success, and that is where your forward comes in. Spending is the determining factor to the successfulness of your budget. Just as in basketball, if no one takes the ball up the court there is no potential to score. By managing your spending, you create momentum through your forward player to move your money in a positive direction.

Keep your elbows in.

Every game comes with rules to keep the players safe, staying within these guidelines helps to protect you from receiving any unwanted fouls in the realms of finances.

Foul 1: Spending more than you earn.       Penalty: Paying Interest and losing savings capabilities.

Foul 2: Not having a savings plan.              Penalty: No structure for emergencies or retirement.

Foul 3: Carrying bad credit.                          Penalty: Added obstacles in gaining financial freedom.

Just as in basketball, practicing the fundamentals will push you to better your skills. If you work to create a successful budget based on what you can afford, your consistent monthly expenses, moderated spending, and a sound investment plan, you will be a winning coach in no time.

If you have in questions in how to begin a savings or checking account to help get the ball going, give your local branch a call today!

 

Maximize Your Bank Experience with Our Online Toolkit!

Online Banking

At Iowa State Bank we work to provide the best products and services to our valued customers. With our user-friendly online tools, we make banking easier than ever before. Signup to use our online banking today and see what benefits it can bring you and your finances!

Online Banking: Conveniently access all your banking accounts through our secure online portal. Not only does this give you a quick and easy way to manage your finances but it’s also where you can view a complete account history, re-order checks, transfer funds, and more!

Mobile Banking: Enjoy all the perks of online banking from the comfort of your mobile device. This easy mobile tool allows you to keep up on your finances while you’re away or during your busy day.

Text Banking: Utilize our quick and easy text messaging service to receive account balances and recent history. Any phone with texting (SMS) capabilities can be used with our Text Banking.

Online Bill Pay: Tired of writing checks for your monthly expenses? With our Online Bill Pay you can schedule reoccurring payments and take the hassle out of paying your monthly expenses. Go through our easy setup process and you can start paying bills directly from your Online Banking account!

E-Statements: Make a difference and go green with our E-statements at Iowa State Bank. Not only are you helping the environment, but our E-Statements offer a quicker, simpler process to obtain your monthly statements. Simply log-in to your Online Banking page, and go to your User Settings and select Account Statements to sign up!

With a products that encompass all your financial needs, Iowa State Bank is here to help you make the most out of your funds. Check out our online information or call your local branch today to see how to get started!

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