What’s in Store for the 2023 Housing Market?

The housing market is always evolving and shifting. Attempting to predict where it will head next is like trying to catch the Golden Snitch in Quidditch … sending you flying in all directions, often to no avail. Thankfully, we have economists and industry experts who study trends to offer a glimpse of what’s likely to transpire in the housing market. It may not be a crystal ball, but it’s the closest thing we’ve got. So, here’s a roundup of expert forecasts to give you an idea of what to expect for housing in 2023.

A Deceleration (or Decline) in Home Prices

Experts differ in their predictions on where home prices are headed. But the one consistent theme is that exorbitant price increases are likely a thing of the past (at least for now). CoreLogic and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) agree that home-price growth will continue to decelerate this year, meaning prices will still increase but at a slower pace. CoreLogic predicts that from September 2022 to September 2023, prices will increase 3.9%, while the MBA expects annual price growth of 0.7% by Q4. Fannie Mae, however, forecasts that house prices will decline 1.5% in 2023. Freddie Mac also predicts a modest price decline of 0.2%. Keep in mind that the rate of price growth or contraction will vary by local market and depend largely on supply and demand.

Fewer Home Sales

Home sales have been steadily declining since early 2022, but will that trend continue in 2023? It depends who you ask. According to Freddie Mac’s forecast, total home sales activity could bottom out at around 5 million units at the end of this year, representing a decline of about 30%, which is in line with other periods of history when interest rates sharply increased. Fannie Mae expects a more moderate decline, with single-family home sales falling by 20.8% in 2023. Contrast that with the MBA, which anticipates existing-home sales will dip during the first half of the year before climbing up in the second half. They also predict new-home sales will gradually rise over every quarter this year. Even if home sales rise this year, they’re unlikely to surpass the 15-year high that we experienced in 2021.

What About Mortgage Rates?

The big question on everyone’s minds is … when will mortgage rates come back down? No one knows, but as long as inflation persists and the Federal Reserve continues to tighten monetary policy, mortgage rates will likely remain elevated. Conversely, if the Fed’s actions trigger a recession, mortgage rates could fall. But if you’re waiting for mortgage rates to drop below the 3% mark we saw in 2020, keep in mind that rates during that time were historically low and the result of unprecedented demand and economic shifts caused by the pandemic. If you look at average mortgage rates over time, the 30-year fixed rate has a historical average of nearly 8%.

Source: Freddie Mac, Primary Mortgage Market Survey

Bottom line: Average mortgage rates are helpful for understanding trends, but for homebuyers, personal factors such as your credit, down payment, loan type, and more can influence the rate you’ll get. So if you think rates are too high for you, talk to your Loan Officer first to run the numbers and see what kind of rate you could score.

Are We Headed for a Housing Crash?

With all of these changes underway, you may be wondering if we’re in for a repeat of the 2008 housing crash, but it’s important to note that the conditions in 2008 were very different compared to today, with housing supply being a key factor. As NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explains, “The current lack of supply underscores the vast contrast with the previous major market downturn from 2008 to 2010, when inventory levels were four times higher than they are today.” Another key factor is that regulations have been put in place requiring stricter lending standards so that today’s borrowers are at less risk of default. Based on this information, what’s occurring now is likely not a crash but rather a much-needed correction that should help bring more balance to the housing market.

This is a lot of information. If you have questions or are looking to buy this year, reach out today. We are happy to help. 515-252-7107 or info@midwestfamilylending.com

Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, August 2022.
CoreLogic, a data and analytics company, U.S. Home Price Insights, November 2022.
MBA Mortgage Finance Forecast, October 2022.
Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group, October 2022.
Freddie Mac Quarterly Forecast, October 2022.
NAHB, “Builder Confidence Down 10 Straight Months as Housing Market Continues to Weaken,” October 18, 2022.
Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey®

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MFLCares about Level Up Community Athletic Program

LU CAP is the MFLCares featured charity for January.
Flynn Heald, President and Founder of Level Up LLC, and LU CAP, accepts a check from Taylor Fredrickson, Licensed Loan Originator with Midwest Family Lending.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Level Up Community Athletic Program is the recipient of the Midwest Family Lending‘s first MFLCares donation of 2023!

“For Taylor to select our non-profit as a MFLCares charity means so much to all the staff and athletes involved” says Flynn Heald, President and Founder of Level Up LLC, and LU CAP. “Thank you so much Taylor! We are honored to be selected and extremely grateful for the donation.”

MFLCares logo

Through MFLCares, Midwest Family Lending teammates have the opportunity to nominate a charity they’d like to support. Taylor Fredrickson, Licensed Home Loan Originator with Midwest Family Lending, nominated Level Up.

“I chose Level Up because growing up an athlete had such a positive impact on my life,” says Taylor. “Luckily, my mom made involvement in sports a financial priority. I understand that not all parents have the means for their children to participate (shoes, jerseys, travel, etc., certainly add up). Level Up is giving many children the opportunity to play 7-on-7 football. More importantly they provide a positive environment, amazing leadership, and infinite opportunities. I love that Level Up’s ultimate goal is to set their athletes up for future success by teaching them discipline and instilling work ethic. This league has helped many kids get scholarships to play football in college when otherwise college wouldn’t have been an option.”

Taylor has witnessed the benefits coaches receive as well. “My fiancé Justin has been a volunteer coach with Level Up for a couple of seasons now,” says Taylor. “He absolutely loves it! It has been fun watching him pass the love he has for football on to the kids in the program. But more than that, it has been amazing watching him build relationships with the athletes in the program.”

Their Mission:

LU CAP (Level Up Community Athletic Program) is a 501(c)3 aimed at making it possible for the youth of our community to pursue their dreams of playing college football and get a leg up in life after football is over.

“Our focus has always been simple- provide a safe and structured opportunity for young athletes to develop their tangible & intangible skills in a stable and inclusive environment. Through high level competition and exposure, we have truly taken the name Level Up to a personal development level. Over the last 4 years we have helped more than 60 athletes continue their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level. We have seen more then 350 scholarships offered to athletes in our programs. We recognize many young athletes may not get this amazing opportunity due to the financial commitment that comes with training, traveling and participating in such a rigorous program. This non-profit was started to help these athletes realize their dreams.” – Flynn Heald, Level Up LLC, LU CAP

How YOU can help!

Donation Options:

Paypal: Levelupcap2022@gmail.com

Check: payable to LU CAP mailed to 5655 Flagstone Way, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Upcoming Events

Stop by Pizza Ranch in Urbandale on Feb. 6th, between 5 and 9 pm. LU athletes will be working for tips! Every dollar will go towards scholarships for athletes.

MFLCares is a program of Midwest Family Lending Corp., a mortgage company located in Urbandale, IA.  The program was started in 2016 to create a conduit between our communities and the incredible causes within them. The intent of MFLCares is to promote and support central Iowa charities, to create relationships and partnerships with these non-profit organizations, and to foster an environment of service among our team. Each month, we get the opportunity to meet the real people behind these organizations.  Each monthly charity will be promoted through the personal and professional networks of our team.  Visit our website to see other MFLCares charities who are doing great things! 

With this MFLCares donation, along with donations from across the state, we hope to open our doors to more athletes to continue their pursuit towards higher education and athletics.

Flynn Heald, President and Founder of Level Up LLC, and LU CAP
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January is Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month

As 2023 begins, Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month is in full swing. Start this year off strong by committing to IBAT’s mission to “Learn Something” and “Do Something” to raise awareness in your community, support survivors, and help prevent this terrible crime. I want to offer you some ideas on how you can get involved this month:

Anti-Trafficking Training

The first step to raising awareness is educating yourself about this form of modern exploitation. You can host an anti-trafficking training with a local organization for your business and community members to learn more about the signs of human trafficking and steps you can take to prevent it. You can find more information here.

Once you know the signs of human trafficking, reach out to members of your community and help them learn these signs as well .

A Small Gesture Can Go a Long Way

Millions of Americans have learned about a vital hand signal that can help rescue an innocent trafficking victim. Do you know the hand signal to alert others that a trafficking situation is occurring?

Simply put your hand up with your palm facing out, place your thumb in your palm like you are holding up the number four, and curl all four fingers around the thumb like you are “trapping” it. You should continue doing this hand signal multiple times. Now you can help spread the word about the “sign for help.”

Strengthen Your Community

IBAT has grown tremendously in its first year, surpassing 600 members across the state. You can help us continue to grow this membership by asking businesses in your community to join you in this fight by becoming an IBAT member. You can direct them to our website to apply at http://ibat.iowa.gov.

Post on Social Media

In a digital world, a social media post can cause a rippling effect. Share on your social media information about Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month and IBAT. You can download IBAT graphics here

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Martin Luther King Jr.’s Fair Housing Legacy

Buying a home has long been a cherished part of the American Dream, but when Captain Edward Brooke returned as a decorated serviceman from World War II, his desire to buy a home was impeded by one simple fact: He was African American, and at that time, discrimination in homebuying and home financing wasn’t just common. It was legal.

This was one of many fights that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took on as a leader of the American Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, and as we celebrate MLK Day on January 16, it’s a fitting time to look at Dr. King’s vital role in the Fair Housing movement.

Barriers to Equal Housing Opportunity

The fight against housing discrimination was an uphill battle, because the structures that kept African Americans segregated were sanctioned by the federal government. To shore up the housing market during the Great Depression, the federal government created the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) to assist banks in deciding where to lend. Local real estate agents and lenders provided information to HOLC based largely on their impressions of the racial and socioeconomic makeup of certain areas, and low-rated areas were colored red on HOLC’s maps. These “redlined” areas were labeled as risky for home loans, even though those areas didn’t necessarily have high default rates on mortgages.

With a government agency backing the redlining practices, lenders were able to refuse to write loans for entire neighborhoods or would provide loans at predatory rates, and insurance companies would often refuse to insure those properties. Additionally, it was common practice for real estate agents to refuse to show homes to African American homebuyers or steer them to undesirable neighborhoods. This cycle ensured that generations of otherwise qualified homebuyers were denied housing based solely on the color of their skin.

By the 1960s, a main battleground for housing equality was in Chicago, which at that time was one of the most segregated cities in the nation. Dr. King joined the existing Chicago Freedom Movement to organize protests to draw attention to the unsafe, unsanitary, and overpriced housing that African Americans were consigned to. In 1966, he addressed a crowd of 30,000 people at Soldier Field before leading the group to the city hall, where they taped their demands to the door. Despite violent protests from white residents of the city, Dr. King and his group continued their fight to end discriminatory practices designed to keep neighborhoods segregated and deny African Americans equal access to safe housing.

As the fair housing movement gained steam in 1968, Dr. King found an ally in Congress: Captain Brooke was now Senator Brooke, and he succeeded in getting the Fair Housing Act included in the Civil Rights Act of 1968. No longer would people face housing discrimination based on the color of their skin. But tragically, Dr. King would not live to see this landmark legislation enacted. It was signed into law the week after his assassination.

What the Fair Housing Act Means for You

The Fair Housing Act levels the playing field for individuals looking to rent or buy a home, get a mortgage, or obtain housing assistance. It prohibits housing discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation)
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

Here are some common examples of what the law prohibits:*

  • Refusing to rent or sell housing
  • Setting different terms or conditions for a home sale or rental, including imposing different prices or charges
  • Using different qualification criteria, standards, or procedures, such as income standards, application requirements or fees, credit analyses, approval procedures, or other requirements

*Based on someone’s race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin

Home lenders cannot use an applicant’s status as a protected class as an excuse to:

  • Refuse to make or purchase a mortgage loan
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
  • Discriminate in appraising a dwelling

For a full list of protections under the Fair Housing Act, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Future of Dr. King’s Dream

Of course, Dr. King’s legacy encompasses much more than his contributions to Fair Housing. His work toward voting rights, labor rights, and desegregation of businesses and public places touch so many aspects of daily life that it’s easy to take for granted the struggle and sacrifice that brought us this far. There is much more work to do, but in the meantime, we are fortunate to be building on the foundation laid by Dr. King, Senator Brooke, and so many other brave individuals.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, think of how his efforts have impacted your life or that of someone you know. Thanks to Dr. King, millions of people have been able to achieve the goal of homeownership, and we remain committed to furthering that cause.

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How a New Program Can Pay You to Go Green

Wearing one ugly Christmas sweater for a party can be fun, but if soaring energy costs have you wearing all your sweaters at once to avoid raising your thermostat, you may feel less than jolly. Fortunately, a new federal program is offering homeowners incentives to pay for home energy improvements. Passed in August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides tax credits and rebates to American consumers for eco-friendly upgrades and may help households reduce their electricity costs by as much as $170 to $220 a year.

Here are four key IRA provisions that can help you pay to increase your home’s energy efficiency. For more information on how each program can benefit you, visit the White House’s site dedicated to clean energy.

1. Energy Efficient Home Improvement Tax Credit

Beginning in 2023, you can claim a tax credit of up to 30% of the costs of eligible energy improvements. The amount you can claim varies by the type of improvement and is subject to cap of $1,200 per year, or $2,000 for electric heat pumps. Because of the annual limits, it may make sense to spread out your improvements over multiple years. For example, you could use the credit toward the purchase of an air conditioner one year, and claim it again the next year to help pay for new windows and doors.

Types of improvements include:

  • Home energy audits
  • Energy-efficient exterior doors, windows, and skylights
  • Certain types of central air conditioners, water heaters, furnaces, and appliances
  • Heat pumps
  • Electrical panel upgrades (in some cases)
  • Insulation

2. Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit

Formerly known as the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, this provision allows a 30% credit for the cost of installing certain systems that use solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass fuel to produce electricity for your home. It can also be used toward home battery packs. This percentage drops to 26% in 2033 and expires after 2034.

3. Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit

If you have an electric vehicle (EV), you can claim a credit of 30% of the cost to install recharging equipment, with a limit of $1,000. And if you don’t have an EV, check out related tax credits of up to $7,500 for a new EV and $4,000 for a used one, subject to income and vehicle price limits.

4. High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebates

Down the road, low-and middle-income Americans (defined as families earning less than 150% of an area’s median income) will have access to another clean energy incentive in the form of rebates on certain home improvements. Unlike federal income tax credits, these rebates will be distributed out of $4.5 billion allocated to states, with each state establishing its own programs. Availability (and amounts) of rebates will be determined by your state, and each qualifying family is limited to $14,000 in total rebates.

Examples include rebates up to:

  • $840 for qualifying models of appliances like stoves, cooktops, and heat pump clothes dryers
  • $1,600 for insulation, air sealing, and ventilation
  • $1,750 for a heat pump water heater
  • $2,500 for electric wiring and $4,000 for an electric panel upgrade (if needed to support energy-efficient improvements)
  • $8,000 for a heat pump for home heating/cooling

And remember … in addition to these incentives and the savings on your utility bills, your city or state may offer additional rebates or tax breaks for energy improvements. Add that up, and you have plenty of ways to save money while going green!

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read our blog.  Not only do we hope you found it educational, we also hope it saves you money!  Please feel free to reach out to us at 515-252-7107 if you have any questions regarding this topic or other topics regarding home financing or home ownership.  If we cannot answer your question, we are happy to direct you to a trustworthy resource who can.  Feel free to visit Midwest Family Lending for more helpful tips regarding home financing.  And while you are at it, we would LOVE for you to visit MFLCares to learn more about some of the incredible charities we support.  These organizations and people are truly making a difference in our communities. 

This article is informational purposes only. Note that exceptions, limitations, and restrictions may apply to any of these scenarios.  Consult your tax advisor for more information.  We are not endorsed by, sponsored by, or acting on behalf or at the direction of any government entity or program.

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MFLCares about Easterseals Iowa

Easterseals Iowa is the MFLCares December featured charity.
Cecily Robinson, Major Gift Coordinator with Easterseals Iowa (pictured on the left) accepts a check from Hannah Vande Weerd, Loan Processor with Midwest Family Lending.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Easterseals Iowa is Midwest Family Lending’s December charity and has received a $1500 donation through MFLCares.

“We are honored to be selected by Midwest Family Lending Corporation as their December MLFCares charity”, says Sherri Nielsen, President & CEO, Easterseals Iowa. “Easterseals Iowa serves the entire state of Iowa and our mission simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of our community. This gift will make it possible for us to continue our work towards 100% equity, inclusion, and access for persons with disability, families, and communities. Thank you.”

MFLCares logo

Through MFLCares, Midwest Family Lending teammates have the opportunity to nominate a charity they’d like to support. Hannah Vande Weerd, Loan Processor with Midwest Family Lending nominated Easterseals because of her ties with Camp Sunnyside.

“Throughout high school I was involved with Special Olympics and Best Buddies”, says Hannah. “Some of the people I met through those organizations were also campers at Easterseals Camp Sunnyside. My summers throughout high school were spent volunteering at camp. I just loved hanging out with those campers! Those memories are held very close to my heart.”

Their Mission:

Easterseals Iowa provides exceptional services to ensure all people with disabilities or special needs, and their families, have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.

“Easterseals Iowa serves over 3,000 individuals every single year through 19 unique program lines. Our services make it possible for individuals with disabilities or special needs to live with independence and hope in the communities of their choice. Programs provided through Easterseals make it possible for clients to find and maintain meaningful employment, learn alongside their peers, have a fun and enriching summer camp experience, and fully access and enjoy their community.” – Cecily Robinson, Easterseals Iowa

How YOU can help!


Become a volunteer

From prepping or cleaning cabins, to landscaping, to providing weekend respite care or being volunteer “grandparents”, there IS a volunteer opportunity that is a perfect match for you! Please visit link above to see how you can make other lives better by providing your gift of… you!

Attend any of these 2023 events

  • January 18th – Legislative Reception – At the Iowa Capital to advocate with legislators about issues affecting individuals with disabilities.
  • April 8thPony Express Ride Day – Members of the Pony Express Riders of Iowa trot into camp delivering donations they’ve collected throughout the year. This is typically Easter weekend and we have an Easter egg hunt for children before the horses arrive.
  • July 13th – Sunnyside Regatta – Business leaders paddle around Lake Cheerio racing in paddleboats for the Admiral’s Cup while teams cheer them on.
  • October 7th – Fall Festival and Walk – Family-friendly walk around Lake Cheerio includes fun camp activities such as horseback riding, face painting, and more.
  • November 2ndAnnual Celebration – An evening to celebrate clients, staff, and community partners and all the success over the past year.

MFLCares is a program of Midwest Family Lending, a local mortgage company committed to creating customers for life and making positive community impact. Through MFLCares, we support and promote central Iowa charities. Check out our calendar to learn about the incredible organizations that are making a positive impact in our communities!

The Easterseals Iowa mission simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of community. Let us all join in supporting individuals with disabilities!

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Could Your Home Equity Be the Best Gift Ever?

Giving gifts is one of the joys of the holidays. There’s nothing like that feeling you get when you share a present with a loved one and see their face light up with excitement and gratitude. And let’s face it, we all love to be on the receiving end of a gift, too. As a homeowner, the perfect gift may already be right under your nose … or, more accurately, right under your roof.

It Came Without Ribbons, It Came Without Tags

If you’ve owned your home for the past few years, you’ve likely benefited from significant home-price appreciation. Home prices have risen continuously since 2012, providing homeowners with large amounts of home equity. When the pandemic began, equity growth skyrocketed, as the below chart illustrates.

While the rate of appreciation varies by local market and your specific property, the national averages could give you an idea of how much your equity has grown.

In the second quarter of 2022, average home equity grew 27.8% from the previous year, with the typical homeowner seeing a $60,200 annual gain. In coastal markets like California and Florida, average equity grew by $117,000 and $100,000, respectively. Meanwhile, closer to home, Iowa homes appreciated 13.35% while surrounding states like Nebraska (14.49%) and Missouri (15.78%) were a little higher.  Somewhat surprisingly, South Dakota homes appreciated at a rate of 19.23% YOY for that same timeframe. 

Although appreciation rates have slowed significantly over the past few months, they remain positive which keeps homeowner’s available equity at historically high levels.

Silver and Gold … Or Just Cold, Hard Cash

Do you already have visions of sugarplums (or dollar signs) dancing in your head? If you have home equity available to tap into, it could be a great way to achieve your financial goals. The best part is, you can use it however you like.

Perhaps a kitchen or bathroom remodel has been on your holiday wish list for far too long. Or maybe you’re looking for a way to pay off high-interest debt, cover college tuition, or have an emergency fund to pull from in case of the unexpected. Your home equity could make it happen.

Never before in history have home values risen so high and so quickly. Today’s homeowners can use this to their advantage by unlocking their equity and putting it to work. Why not give yourself that gift this year?

How Much Home Equity Do You Have?

To calculate your home equity, subtract your outstanding mortgage debt from your home’s market value. Suppose your home is worth $300,000 and you owe $175,000 on your mortgage. That would equal $125,00 in home equity.

If you need help figuring out how much equity you have, Midwest Family Lending can help you run the numbers. Contact us today! 515-252-7107

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MFLCares about Single Parent Provision

Single Parent Provision is the MFLCares November featured charity. Zach Smith,
licensed mortgage loan originator with Midwest Family Lending and The Smith/Brandt Mortgage Team presents a check to Jayme Ward, Communications & Development Manager at Single Parent Provision.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Single Parent Provision is Midwest Family Lending’s November charity and has received a $1500 donation through the MFLCares program.

“We are grateful to Midwest Family Lending for their partnership with Single Parent Provision in supporting the single parents in our community. This relationship confirms the name Midwest Family Lending and validates the care they have for the families in our community,” says Jayme Ward, Communications & Development Manager with Single Parent Provision. “It also helps single parents know their unique needs are seen and heard by the community around them.

MFLCares logo

Through MFLCares, Midwest Family Lending teammates have the opportunity to nominate a charity they’d like to support.

“I nominated Single Parent Provisions because every superhero needs a side kick,” says Zach Smith, Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator with Midwest Family Lending. “Single parents are basically superheroes, but even superheroes don’t fight alone,” continues Zach. “Single Parent Provision has a variety of programs to assist single parents in their everyday lives. These programs help by giving parents a break, helping with home provisions, creating friendships, and much more!”

About Single Parent Provision

Did you know that 30% of families across the state of Iowa are single parent families? That number is 42% for Des Moines, and sadly, as high as 48% in some central Iowa communities. Single Parent Provision is a non-profit organization providing a trusted partner to single parents and their families by offering programs and services to help single parent families strengthen and thrive.

Raising a family in a single parent household can be very challenging and extremely lonely. Through the work of Single Parent Provision, single parent families can get support, encouragement, and resources to help them on their journey. Programs such as Break Time provide parents an opportunity for self-care while their children enjoy a safe evening with volunteers. The Home Provision program provides single parents additional hands to accomplish projects/repairs around the house. Single Parent Groups builds networks of support and community with others going through similar challenges.

Upcoming Events

MFLCares is a program of Midwest Family Lending, a local mortgage company committed to creating customers for life and making positive community impact. Through MFLCares, we support and promote central Iowa charities. Check out our calendar to learn about the incredible organizations we’ve recently supported that are making a positive impact in our communities!

“Most single parents don’t expect to become one. Whether through the unexpected loss of a spouse, unexpected pregnancy, or an unexpected divorce. At Single Parent Provision, we recognize the unique needs of single parent families and the heavy loads they carry, and exist to shoulder that weight and walk with them on the journey. We offer relevant programs, services, and events to help strengthen their lives and the lives of their family.”
-Jayme Ward, Communication & Development Manager, Single Parent Provision

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The ABC’s of ADU’s: 5 Things to Know About Accessory Dwelling Units

Relationships are hard. You think you’ve found “The One” you’ll spend the rest of your life with, but then as time goes on, your wants and needs change. You think it might be time to move on, but you’re willing to offer one more chance … to your house.

After all, if you love where you live, it may make more sense to add on to your property than to buy a bigger house, especially if you need to accommodate changing family dynamics, like an adult child moving back home or aged parents needing a nearby (but independent) living space. This is where an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) can make all the difference.

An ADU is more than just an addition to a house … it’s a fully functioning living area built on an existing home’s property. And as housing costs and property values rise, ADUs can provide an affordable and convenient way to house more people without developing more land.

Intrigued? Then check out these five things you’ll want to know to see if an ADU is right for you.

1. ADUs can be created by repurposing existing space (like converting a basement or garage) or built as a new construction, but however they are made, they share certain characteristics. By definition, ADUs are:

  • Additional units on the property of a primary home
  • Smaller than the primary home
  • Usually created after the main house has been built and occupied

There are several different ways to create an ADU, and each has its own regulations and requirements. Your options will be largely driven by the constraints of your property and your local zoning ordinances.

2. ADUs are living units that function independently of the main home, which means an ADU typically includes:

  1. A kitchen and bathroom
  2. Living space
  3. Its own entrance

Converted interior spaces like basements and attics may or may not have all these features, depending on local ADU requirements.

3. ADUs are growing in popularity across the country, especially in western states.

California is now one of the most ADU-friendly states thanks to laws that substantially streamline building requirements and permitting processes. But in most locations, homeowners looking to build ADUs have to navigate a patchwork of state, county, and city regulations, and the permitting process can be daunting. Common restrictions include:

  • Zoning laws
  • Size limits on lots and dwellings
  • Homeowner association (HOA) rules
  • Occupancy, setback, and parking requirements
  • Additional regulations if the space is to be rented out rather than owner-occupied

4. Construction costs for ADUs vary tremendously based on the type and size of the structure, your geographic location, building materials used, labor costs, and permit costs.

One firm specializing in ADUs estimates that costs can range from $30,000 (for a garage remodel) to as high as $360,000 (for a brand-new backyard cottage).* When factored against the increased value of your property, however, ADUs may pay off in the long run.

5. For some people, ADUs are the perfect way to maximize the livability of their property, but the cost and complexity of ADU construction mean they’re not for everyone.

Before jumping on the ADU bandwagon, you’ll have to consider all the factors involved and decide if this is an option that makes logistical and financial sense for you.

*“How Much Value Does an ADU Add?” January 27, 2021, Architectsla.com

Thinking about going all in on an ADU? Reach out to Midwest Family Lending Corp to discuss tapping your home’s equity to finance your new living arrangement!

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MFLCares about Volunteer Iowa

Midwest Family Lending’s Molly Maguire presents Jamie Nagel, Program Development Director for Volunteer Iowa, a $1500 donation through the MFLCares program. Volunteer Iowa is our October MFLCares charity.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Volunteer Iowa is a state agency charged with connecting Iowans of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to use service as a means for addressing pressing community challenges.

With a vision to create an Iowa where all citizens are empowered through service to meet community challenges and make lives better, Volunteer Iowa connects agencies in need with programming that addresses those needs.

“Being selected as the MFLCares charity was an amazing surprise for Volunteer Iowa.” said Jamie Nagel, Program Development Director.  “We will use the funding to support our AmeriCorps Member Emergency/Financial Assistance Fund.  This is a new initiative of our organization, and it means a lot that Midwest Family Lending recognizes the importance of our efforts.  With the assistance that is being provided, we’ll be able to open the Emergency/Financial Assistance Fund up to a new group of AmeriCorps members.  This support will have a direct, positive impact on the financial wellbeing of Iowa AmeriCorps members.”

MFLCares logo

Through MFLCares, Midwest Family Lending team members nominate a charity or cause that is meaningful to them. Molly Maguire, CVLS, CRMS, CCS licensed home loan originator, nominated Volunteer Iowa’s AmeriCorp Member Emergency/Financial Assistance Fund because of the help it provides those serving our communities.

“AmeriCorp members are serving our communities and making a big impact,” says Molly. “They do so on a small monthly stipend. If someone has an unexpected expense (such as flat tire, brake replacement, etc.) they can apply to this emergency fund for reimbursement. This financial help enables them to continue serving our communities without having to go into debt or leave the program.”

What’s it all about?

One of the primary functions of Volunteer Iowa is to work with organizations and communities to help them use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions by engaging Iowans in addressing pressing community challenges. This is accomplished by connecting those in need with appropriate programming or providing technical assistance on how to better utilize community volunteers. Programs include AmeriCorps, Disaster Volunteers, Future Ready Iowa Mentoring, Iowa MENTOR, Volunteer Generation Fund, State Volunteer Recognition Programs, and RSVP.

More about the programs


Disaster Volunteers

When disaster strikes, help is needed! This is an opportunity for spontaneous volunteers to jump in and help during disasters such as floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

Future Ready Iowa Mentoring

This statewide networking and professional development opportunity connects students with professionals in the workforce.


This program provides certification, recognition, training, marketing, and technical assistance for local youth mentoring programs.

Volunteer Generation Fund

Grants from this fund strengthen the infrastructure for effective local volunteering through Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI) and Volunteer Centers of Iowa (VCI).

State Volunteer Recognition Programs

Governor’s Volunteer Awards and Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame


Volunteer Iowa coordinates state funding for the RSVP program serving Iowa. One of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and older, this program utilizes the competence, wisdom, and experience of older volunteers.

How can you help? We’re glad you asked!

Most Iowa AmeriCorps programs are recruiting members right now.  You can find out more about AmeriCorps programs at Join AmeriCorps

Volunteer Iowa also coordinates the Give Back Iowa Challenge each spring to encourage employer-supported volunteering.  Find out more at Give Back Iowa Challenge

MFLCares about Volunteer Iowa!

MFLCares is a program of Midwest Family Lending, a local mortgage company committed to creating customers for life and making positive community impact. Through MFLCares, we support and promote central Iowa charities. Check out our calendar to learn about the incredible organizations we’ve recently supported that are making a positive impact in our communities!

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