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Robert Washburn


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 54

What Can Affect Your Mortgage Rate?

by Robert Washburn

You see advertisements for mortgage rates all over the media and internet.  But how can you be sure that you’re getting the best rate possible? Even if you compare rates, they probably aren’t realistic. Here are some factors to take into consideration.


Economy – The global economy drives all interest rates, including mortgage rates

Property location – Lender costs can go up or down depending on state laws

Lender pipeline – How much business a lender is currently processing

Property type – Single family, multi-family, condo, mobile, co-op, etc.

Loan-to-value – Lower values get a better rate

Home use – Is this home being used for personal use, rental, or vacation?

Credit score – The higher the score, the better the rate

Points – Overall, the higher the costs, the lower the rate

Loan features – Term, documentation, rate adjustment, interest-only payments, etc.

Loan amount – If the loan amount is very high or very low, this can mean higher rates

Mortgage Rates Always Change  

It’s true. In fact, rates can change quicker than you would think! Even politics can affect the rate.  As an example, when the President disbanded his business council, it sent rates down the drain within 20 minutes! So that means the rate you were quoted before and after that situation will be much different than before.

The up side is that current mortgage rates are as low as they've been in 2017. But home prices are climbing in much of the US. To get a low rate and make your home as affordable as possible, you’ll need to get several custom quotes from competing mortgage lenders.

Staying Safe This Halloween in Red Oak!

by Robert Washburn

Halloween. A time of treats, silly costumes for the kids and scary fun times. It’s also a time to remember a little caution and safety preparation can go a long way for our trick or treaters. Let us share some fun ways to stay safe for this year’s Halloween in Red Oak.

The chance of a car accident for a child goes up an unpleasant amount this night more than any other, so we have a few ideas on how to keep the children as safe as possible.

One way is to try integrating reflective tape or stickers into costumes and bags, as well as using face paint, non-toxic of course, as an alternative to masks that can be visually obstructive for children. Besides, kids love getting to their faces painted! Also give the kids some glow sticks, glow bracelets and whatever other glowing things you can find for them. Not only will that be added fun to their costumes, but it will help with added visual for drivers.

Children, 12 and under should never be out alone without adult to supervision. Also remind the older kids to stay in areas that they are familiar with, are well lit and maybe suggest to them that going trick-or-treating with friends would be more entertaining. They’re sure to like that!

Check out this link for more tips on safety this Halloween. Most importantly, don’t let them forget to have a scary great time this Halloween in Red Oak, Iowa!

Celebrate Fall in Iowa With Fresh Décor Tips

by Robert Washburn

Pumpkins. A definite sign that fall is on your doorstep or is already falling with great gusto from your trees. Matching this cheerful end-of-summer Iowa sensation with fresh homey décor ideas is a must. To Start with an awesome pumpkin or two on your porch and strategically placed saucer pumpkins for added effect.

Be sure not to forget the trees outside shedding their spring and summer gowns. Now is the best time to take advantage of their seasonal molting to brighten up your home with some marvelous Iowan colors, like leaf art. Let’s not forget the fun twigs and variety of berries and that become art pieces to make entertaining fall vases and fun DIY welcome wreaths.

Don’t forget that wood stove that’s been sitting quietly over summer. Bring out your best for the fall Iowa nights as the weather cools down, giving you a reason to hang out around the warm and mesmerizing flames with friends or family remembering the good times, and looking forward to more to come.

Council Bluffs IA Housing Market Update: 09/20/17

by Robert Washburn

It's a GREAT time to purchase your Council Bluffs Iowa Home!  This area offers all the amenities you'd expect in a large city, but homes are very affordable and readily available. If you're ready to purchase a beautiful home in Council Bluffs, search all listings here.


Here is the current Housing Market Update for Council Bluffs, IA:


Median Home Price- $110,792

Average Square Footage- 1,336

Average Number of Bedrooms- 3

Average Number of Bathrooms- 1.2

Total Properties on the Market- 163

Average Days on the Market- 84

Average Price per Square Foot- $81


Consider the following 90 trends of the market:

For more home buying and selling tips visit our website at:

Brought to you by Altos Research & Rob Washburn Real Estate

Ed Spencer Real Estate & Farms America Inc.

Mall of the Bluffs

Council Bluffs, IA  51503

Phone: 402-981-6999

Are Your Kids Attending the Best Schools in Omaha?

by Robert Washburn

Even though school has started a new year in Omaha, it's never too late to make sure your kids are attending the best schools available.  According to, there many great schools in Omaha.  They rate schools based on a range of criteria, including test scores and parent reviews. In fact, 21 schools in Omaha received a rating of over 9 out of 10! Click here to see the full list of schools in Omaha and thier full ratings.

Here's the top 3 schools in Omaha:

Spring Ridge Elementary School
17830 Shadow Ridge Dr, Omaha, NE 68130
(402) 637-0204

Aldrich Elementary School
506 North 162 Ave, Omaha, NE 68118
(402) 715-2020

Hitchcock Elementary School
5809 South 104th St, Omaha, NE 68127
(402) 715-2255

Looking For Your Dream Home? Know What You Want Vs. What You Need

by Robert Washburn

It may be easy to buy anything you want in this digital age, but buying a home still requires knowing exactly what you want when you start your search. If you’ve been thinking about buying a house for a while, no doubt you’ve already come up with a list of things you’d love to have in your home.  Maybe you’ve been watching home buying shows and basing your list on what you see.  But you have to be careful that you don’t look at homes through rose-colored glasses.

The big question is what you really need versus what you dream about. Is that two-car garage a necessity or a want? Do you need a man-cave now or can you add it on later?

First, make sure you get pre-approved for a mortgage.  This makes sure you can figure out your budget before you fall in love with a home you can’t afford.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • Must-Haves – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • Should-Haves – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • Absolute-Wish List – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

If you finish this list before you start looking for a home, it will save you a lot of time and frustration.  It will also help your agent know what’s important so they can show you the homes that match what you need.

Home Maintenance Tips For September

by Robert Washburn

As summer comes to a close, it's time to make sure your home is ready for fall and winter. By performing just a few chores, you can make sure you're ready for the colder months and have less problems during the winter season. Here's a few tasks that are fairly painless and will help you avoid major repair costs when you least expect them.

Check Walkways For Cracks

Before your walkways get covered in the winter, it's a good idea to fix any cracks that could create a tripping or slipping hazard. You can fix small cracks with epoxy.  For serious cracks, you may need to call in a professional.

Clean and Repair Siding

Make sure the siding doesn't have mold or mildew, and check for rotten and warped areas.  You can even use a cell phone or drone to inspect higher areas instead of using a ladder. Inspect the joints for cracks.

Check Leaky Faucets

If you check leaky faucets and pipes now, you can avoid costly repairs if a pipe breaks during the winter.

Want some more tips for maintaining your home? Check out the full list of September maintenance tips here.

Get Ready For Labor Day Weekend Fun

by Robert Washburn

It's hard to believe that Labor Day is almost here.  Are you ready to have fun this holiday weekend in Council Bluffs and Omaha?  There's plenty of fun to be had this weekend. Here's a few events that will be sure to keep you entertained.

First Friday at the Old Market | SEPTEMBER 1

La Festa Italiana | SEPTEMBER 1-3

The Nebraska State Fair | AUGUST 25-SEPTEMBER 4

September Fest | SEPTEMBER 1-4

Have a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend!

Rob Gets Great Reviews


The reviews are in, and people are saying a lot about how great their experience has been working with Rob.  Rob Washburn has been helping people buy and sell homes in Council Bluffs and the surrounding areas, and his experience shows.  Here are some of the great things people have to say about Rob.

“We loved working with Rob. He isvery personable and honest. Kept us informed on where we were at in process and wanted to make sure we got the house we wanted! I know he would have been willing to show us as many houses as we needed, but we found the one we wanted right away and he helped us get it :)”

“…he did things that people said could not be done.”

“Rob couldn't have been any more helpful with all the ins and outs of real estate buying and selling. He is very knowledgeable and kept us well informed on what needed to be done.”

“Rob has made dreams come true!!! Best agent that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a home!!”

See what else people have been saying about working with Rob.  We hope we can help you have a great experience as well!

A Homeowner’s Net Worth Is Greater Than A Renter’s

by Robert Washburn

Every few years the Federal Reserve does a survey in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey reports that a homeowner's net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renters! The fact is that when you own a home, it's a form of 'forced savings.' So when you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your network so that means every time you pay your rent you're contributing to your landlord's net worth.

According to the national housing pulse survey from NAR, it reveals that 84% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. 

William E. Brown comments:
“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home.” 

William E. Brown comments:

“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home.” 

If you want to find out how you can put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home in Council Bluffs, Glenwood, or the surrounding communities, meet with a real estate professional today who can guide you through the process.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 54

Contact Information

Photo of Rob Washburn Real Estate
Rob Washburn
Ed Spencer Real Estate - Farms America, INC
Mall of the Bluffs
Council Bluffs IA 51503
Fax: 712-624-9251

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