The Fort Dodge Board of Realtors will offer as many as 15 open houses throughout the day on April 29. But in addition to showcasing area homes, the board is using the day as a food drive. At each house, non-perishable food items will be collected to donate to Fort Dodge food pantries.
The National Association of Realtors is holding a nationwide open house campaign that weekend, and the Fort Dodge Realtors decided to try it out.
"It was Rick Peters' idea," said Troy Anderson, president-elect of the Fort Dodge Board of Realtors. Peters is the board's current president. "He thought it would be great if we got together and had open houses on the same day.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Surrounded by “For Sale” signs by member Realtors, Troy Anderson holds a couple of food items Thursday morning in front of a home for sale at 324 N. 10th St. The Fort Dodge Board of Realtors will be participating in a nationwide open house campaign and accepting food donations for local pantries.
"Knowing the state of the economy, some of the food banks are a little low on supplies. We thought if we could get the public interested in open houses and also bringing in a non-perishable food item, we could try and raise some awareness and some food."
Anderson said everything was still coming together, but he thought each Realtor office would have three or four open houses. There are four offices involved, but Anderson stressed that this was a collaboration with the whole board.
The times are not set yet, but the plan is to make as many houses as possible accessible to as many potential buyers as possible.
Anderson said, "We'll try to stagger them to give people time to go around to lots of them."
The Realtors will be voting on what charities to give the donations.
"Each office is supposed to submit their favorite charities. We talked about the Lord's Cupboard, The Salvation Army, the men's shelter I think we're going to divide the food up among four of them," he said.
"We saw this as a good opportunity to give back to the community. I don't think people realize how much the Board of Realtors works together. Even though we're individual offices we still have to band together and have a lot of discussions and dealings together."
The local Board of Realtors is a member of the Iowa and the National Association of Realtors. Anderson said the boards have a lobby arm which watches out for consumer protection in the housing area.
He cited the board's role in shaping septic tank legislation three years ago, and changing Fort Dodge city ordinances on acreages and nonconforming lots.
Currently, the board is involved with an issue of radon testing. Radon is a radioactive gas sometimes found in basements. The Environmental Protection Agency states that radon is the No. 2 cause of lung cancer.
"There's a big push now for radon tests at the time of transfer on every housing deal," Anderson said. "It sounds great, who doesn't want to check for radon? But look at what's feasible ... it can really complicate the sale of a home, even if the basement is uninhabitable. It would really hamper home sales."
He said radon testing should be left as a notification disclosure, similar to what's done for lead-based paint and other issues.
He also said now was a great time to buy a home, since prices were still low.
"You're buying on sale right now. On top of that, if you get a loan, interest rates are at record lows. For somebody with good credit, a 30-year mortgage is around 4 to 4 1/4 percent. I bought my first home in 1996, and a good rate then was 7 3/4.
"(Buyers) have a chance to gain equity relativity quickly over the next few years as prices start to move north again," he said. "For a lot of people, most of their savings is the equity in their home.
"They always say, buy when everyone else is scared and sell when everyone else is not worried."
Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org