Assessed Value = Market Price…or does it???

What is the correlation between the county’s tax assessed price on a home and the price that house will sell for? Nothing.  It’s comparing apples to oranges. Here are some things to consider.

  • Assessed Value is the means to an end. Our local government needs to collect an appropriate amount of taxes to fund their budget.
  • The government will get what they need – they will either raise our assessments or raise the millage rate. But be assured, they will get the money.
  • Market Value is determined on what buyers are willing to pay at any given time. The main three criteria are price, location and condition. The seller can control their asking price and adjust the condition.
  • Tax assessments are assigned annually. It takes awhile for the assessed value to reflect fluctuations in the local market.
  • Market value is fluid, changing constantly.
  • Tax Assessors are human – they have good days and bad days, just like the rest of us!
  • Home buyers’ decisions are subjective – they will buy what appeals to them.
  • Tax Assessors, for the most part, do not go in your home.
  • Buyers tour your house and have an opinion about what they want, what they don’t want, the work they are willing to do and the tasks they are willing to overlook.

What does all this mean to you?  Are you a buyer? Are you a seller?  The tax assesor site is a great place to sleuth info about a neighborhood. But, whether you are a buyer or seller – don’t use the tax assessed value to justify your buying or selling price!

What’s Different in a Sellers Market??


Fewer homes for sale– if you know how many houses sell per month and how many houses are currently for sale; then it’s Economics 101. The demand is greater than the supply. (if you have been wanting to sell – now is an Excellent time – call one of the 3 Realtors on the Eisenlauer Team)

List Price/Sale Price – houses are selling closer to list price , sometimes even over list price. Now is not the time to lowball the seller. February 2016 – sales are 95.9% of original list price.

Buyers must be pre-qualified – In the current market – you will not be taken seriously without a pre-qualification letter . “If you don’t provide a pre-approval letter from your lender when you make your offer, you won’t even be considered as a serious buyer. Getting a  pre-approval is free; it also helps you determine your budget and will give you an idea of what your monthly payments will be.” says Luke Landis at Movement Mortgage.

Days on the Market – homes are on the market for fewer days right now. If you are in the buying process – have your ‘ducks in a row’ and be ready to write an offer with your Realtor – sooner!  Right now, the Des Moines median is 78 days on the market.

Another consideration – in a buyers market, you may be competing against 2 or more other buyers. Consider ahead of time how you can be competitive.

  • Price is not the only consideration. Being able to be flexible in your closing date may give you an edge. Some sellers will want ASAP closing – others may need a little more time to move to their next home.  Flexibility may be a deciding factor.
  • Repairs – Maybe you have skills and time that the sellers don’t. You may be able to negotiate doing some required/requested repairs on the seller’s behalf.
  • Personality – Sometimes a seller will choose to sell to someone they like.  I am not suggesting that they would discriminate for or against someone because of nationality, religion etc. But consider writing a letter to be presented with your offer.  Let the buyer know the things that are especially appealing about the house they have loved. Give them some details about yourself . 95% of people buy (and sell) on emotion and justify logically.  Personify yourself!

Next post – will be suggestions if your house is on the market and NOT receiving showings or offers.



Climacophobia, Vertigo and Unflattering Angles

Do you remember watching Alfred Hitchcocks’s suspenseful movie Vertigo?  A complicated story surrounding a cop with a fear of heights and spiraling dizziness.  That’s how I feel when I see photos of staircases on the MLS. There’s even a name for fear of stairs. It is Climacophobia.  It is often traced back to an earlier trauma involving stairs.

Do you need to see photos of the stairs when house-hunting? I assume that if a house has a second story – there are stairs to get you there. If there’s a basement, there are certainly stairs. The problem lies in photographing the stairs. I’ve seen bad stair photos from both amateurs and professionals.  How do you make the stairs look appealing, without instilling the feeling of vertigo?  Do the photos of the stairs do anything to enhance the appeal of the house?

What’s your reaction when you look at these photos?  Should they be included or left off marketing material for the sale of a house?

The Eisenlauer Team would love to hear your feedback.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


20160129_131415People of Des Moines are in a unique position. We have more access to political candidates and national media celebrities than anywhere else in the country. The First in the Nation position has an amazing impact on our hometown. And we’re making a good impression!  Some things I’ve heard and read.

Whatever your political view – we’re in Iowa. All eyes are on us. Show up Monday night at your caucus location. If you’ve never been, don’t worry. Each location is full of Iowa nice people to help you through the process. A few basics:

  • You must be registered as a Republican or Democrat to participate.
  • If you prefer being independent, don’t worry. You can switch back after Monday.
  • They all start at 7:00 PM
  • Teens and interested students welcome to observe and guaranteed to learn.

This is an opportunity and a responsibility. I know we are all sick of the ads, the phone calls, and the press. But Monday, they will vanish in the night. Let’s not let our country down. It is the most grass-root process you’ll ever experience. Let the Caucus Raucous Begin!


Iowa Redneck Formula – Top Ten

RayGun had it right...

            RayGun had it right.

I’m sure there was a government grant to figure out a formula for whose home-town is more redneck than another. Who else would need to know or want to know?

First, the dictionary defines redneck as: A white person who lives in a small town or in the country especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and who is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive.”

So if you are a person of color, I guess you can NOT be a redneck.  I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of outrage and offense for any and all subgroups in Iowa.

Now the components that make a town more or less Red Neck:

  • Number of bars per city
  • Number of mobile home parks per capita
  • Number of tobacco stores per city
  • Number of places to get fishing gear
  • Number of guns and ammo stores per city
  • Walmarts, Golden Corrals, Bass Pro Shops, and dollar stores nearby

So according to the ‘science’ of Jeff Foxworthy and Red Green geeks, you might be a redneck if you live in:

  1. Fort Dodge
  2. Spirit Lake
  3. Denison
  4. Bloomfield
  5. West Liberty
  6. Missouri Valley
  7. Fort Madison
  8. Red Oak
  9. Maquoketa
  10. Osceola

Coming soon – the Snobbiest Cities in Iowa

All data and info is from Road Snacks.



Tchotchke Index – Are you kidding ??


Tchotchke,  pronounced  chach-ke.  It’s an appropriate time of year to contemplate the economic impact of the gifts we buy for the person who needs nothing.

One of my favorite blogs – DemoMemo invented a Tchotchke Index. I love this blog, because, as we all know – Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure! You won’t believe the studies that have been done and conclusions drawn from them. Check it out- DemoMemo.

First -consider what defines a tchotchke.  Some say a decorative item for the home. Some say cheap and tacky items displayed in the home. Bauble, bric-a-brac, curio, trinket, knickknack. No matter what you call them, we all have them,  we’ve all received them, we’ve all given them. But did you ever imagine that the economic health of our country could be gauged by how much we spend annually on tchotchkes?

Self-storage facilities might also be an indicator of our love of trinkets. The assumption is that when we feel economically solid, we spend more on fluff decor. DemoMemo claims that the index peaked in 2000 and fell to it’s low in 2003.  The good news is that 2014 spending on useless bric-a-brac shows cautious optimism. We’re up from 2013, but less than 2012.

So, if you’re feeling comfortable in the wallet – purchase a purely non-essential bauble and feel at peace with the universe.