After 17 years in business Real Estate Specialists has moved to a new location - 731 Lake Ave, formerly home to Iowa Office Supply. Owner Joe Aube who has been with the firm almost the entire time the business has been open says it was a good time for a move. "Obviously I wouldn't have made a move if I didn't think it (housing market) was good," he says. In a period of four months Aube says they were able to close on 31 real estate property sales.
It was also time for a move because the business had outgrown its location on Railroad. Now at a larger location they'll be able to grow with each employee having their own office and three additional empty offices and plenty of storage space. Each office offers more privacy for clients. "The visibility is obviously a lot better too (along Lake Ave)," he adds. One realtor at Real Estate Specialists has a flat panel screen TV on a wall in her office which will offer a larger view of information or a house for customers viewing information rather than a computer on the desk, Aube says. The new building also has a new conference room which Aube says will be a good place for staff to hold meetings rather than having them all meet in a cramped office space.
He says with the current local housing market he hopes locals will take advantage the lower interest rates. "It's a great time to move up to that bigger house," he says. Although the markets across the nation may not be the most ideal Aube says the markets remain stable in the area and now is a good time to buy a house or see if you qualify to a refinance and lock in a lower interest rate.
Advice for new buyers
Aube says new buyers can come in for a free consultation at Real Estate Specialists. He takes a low pressure approach when determining what kind of home an individual or family will be able to afford. He says he wants clients to be comfortable about what they're doing when going through the process. With two front office assistants, Aube says the realtors are able to spend more time with their clients. He advises clients to ask lots of questions - even if individuals or families have dealt with a pushy or pressuring realtor in the past he says do not be afraid to ask questions of a new realtor, "We want them to be a client for life," he says. When a client comes in, a realtor at the firm will help them in getting pre-qualified at a bank for a mortgage. Aube stresses using local banks during the process. Aube says they will work on what individuals or families will be comfortable with paying in terms of payments. "If the circumstances aren't right we don't try to push them to buy a house," he says.
With the recent federal stimulus package Aube says first time buyers (classified as anyone who hasn't owned a house in the last three years) can qualify for assistance up to 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000 of a tax credit. However, Aube says some restrictions may apply. Aube says with the tax credit if they put it down as a one time payment of principal they could potentially pay off their mortgage four or five years earlier. Aube says he feels there are a lot of opportunities available for new homebuyers now and says he hopes home buyers will take advantage of them before interest rates increase again.