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The First Time Home Buyers Guide to Owning a Home

Posted on May 18th, 2016 in Mortgages, Savings by vgmforbin |

Route To Ownership

The journey to becoming a first time owner is an exciting and personal process. With questions ranging from price, commodities, to neighborhoods and more, the task of finding your ideal property can seem daunting. At Security State Bank we want to help you make the most of your home buying experience with our guided route to home ownership. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the view as we take you step by step through the first time home buying process.

  1. Assess your personal finances. Take a good hard look at your current sources of income, in addition to the underlying expenses you have each month. Determine if your funds can support the cost of a monthly mortgage, property taxes, home insurance, and all the other associated costs of home ownership.
  2. Mortgage Pre-Approval. Once you’ve decided to make the jump into home ownership it’s time to determine what your ideal purchase price will look like. Work with your mortgage lender to decide on the best price range for you and your family. After determining your financing needs together, the bank will evaluate your credit history award you with a pre-approval letter for the amount they will agree to finance.
  3. Find “The House.” Here comes the fun part – house hunting! Pair up with a reputable realtor from the area to look at houses that do not exceed the approved purchase price. You may look at six homes, or thirteen, but once you find the right property you’ll know it’s the one!
  4. Get an approved offer. After touring the property and checking for any major repairs, speak with your realtor about putting in an offer on the house at price within your budget. The seller may counter with a different price point, and negotiations for the offer can be discussed with your realtor. When you and the seller have agreed to a purchase price and a finalized offer is signed you officially have an accepted offer to purchase your future home!
  5. Speak with your mortgage lender. Now that you’ve found your new place, your mortgage lender can gather accurate tax information and further specifics for your mortgage financing. Reach out to confirm the terms of the loan prior to closing to help ensure a smooth transition.
  6. Home Inspection. Since you and the buyer now have an accepted agreement it’s time to fully inspect the property you intend on buying. Speak with your realtor for recommended home inspectors in the area, and set up a time when both you and the realtor can be present. The home inspector will detail notes about the property concerning safety hazards and other important repairs that be taken care of at the sellers expense.
  7. Close the offer. After all the paperwork is finalized, and you complete the final walk through of the home, it’s finally time receive your mortgage financing and close the home offer.
  8. The House is yours. All your hard work has paid off and you are now a home owner! Celebrate this monumental achievement by inviting family and friends over for a moving or house warming party!

Whether you’re looking for a farmhouse in the country, new construction in your dream location, or your happy hideaway in town, Security State Bank can help you with all your financing needs. Stop by the bank or give us a call at (319) 334-7035 and get started on your home buying journey today!


Ultimate Guide to Garage and Yard Sales

Posted on May 11th, 2016 in Community, General, Savings, Seasonal by vgmforbin |

Guide to Garage Sales

With pockets full of dollar bills and a list of dream finds in hand, serious garage sale goers are perking up for the upcoming season. Become a pro deal-spotter by harnessing some of their top tricks of the trade!

  • Check for warranties: Even if they’re dinged or damaged, goods by brands like Craftsman and Chaco may offer lifetime warranties if you send them in for repair. Avoid: Electronic-based gadgets – everything from blenders to tablets – as they’re likely past warranty and cost more to repair than buy new.
  • Snap up fun novelty items: Infrequently used finds like wedding accessories, costume sets, and kitchen appliances can be pricey when purchased brand new. You can buy these gently-used finds for a fraction of the original cost! Avoid: Holiday-themed wares that you’ll use once, store for the year, and toss out at your own yard sale.
  • Think a few seasons ahead: A summer yard sale will be loaded with wintertime treasures. Scope out pricier outerwear like parkas and boots, while keeping your eye out for cross-country skis, durable metal shovels, and other seasonal goods marked at a steep discount. Avoid: Cold weather apparel worn close to the skin, such as hats and long underwear. Also, be wary of major items like snow blowers and snowmobiles, which may require costly repairs that outweigh the price of a newer model.
  • Shop for the kids: When they’re set to outgrow clothes every few months, garage sales are a treasure trove of inexpensive apparel for infants through teens. Be on the lookout for limited-use clothing like costumes and formalwear to save big during special occasions. Avoid: Cribs and car seats which are frequently recalled, soft toys that can’t be easily washed or sterilized, and truly vintage toys which may pose the risk of lead-based paint.
  • See Beyond the Paint: Furniture can be a phenomenal find if you’re willing to pin some extra effort. A new finish or a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference on wood & metal furniture. Avoid: Mattresses and upholstered items which may have unknown stains or trapped in odors.

Saving dollars here and there add up to big returns in the long run. For assistance creating a long-term savings plan, call us today to set up an appointment with one of our financial advisers.

10 Must-Try Tips for Every Spring Cleaner

Posted on April 18th, 2016 in Community, General, Home Improvement, Seasonal by vgmforbin |

Household Hacks

You’ve decluttered your closets, rearranged the furniture, and thrown open the windows, and yet – you know your spring cleaning can go even deeper. With just a couple of simple tools you already have around your house, you can take your cleaning to the next level. Get your spring cleaning on with these easy hacks courtesy of Security State Bank.


  1. Dust blinds in a jiffy. To remove a winter’s build-up of dust and grime that’s settled on horizontal blinds, roll an old tube sock over your hand and spray it with a blast of vinegar before running it over the surface.
  2. Get streak-free windows. Clean smudged windows inside and out with an even mixture of vinegar, water, and dish soap. After scrubbing with a soft cloth, buff and remove streaks in a final once-over with a wadded piece of newspaper.
  3. Banish hard water build-up. To prevent unsightly water streaks on glass shower doors, rub a teaspoon of lemon oil over the surface twice a month and watch drops roll right off.
  4. Remove scratches naturally. To repair dinged or scratched wooden furniture, remove a walnut from its shell and rub it along the scratch. After rubbing the nut’s oils into the wood with your finger, let it sit for five minutes and buff it over with a soft cloth.
  5. De-gunk kitchen cabinets. Remove oil splatters and grime accumulation on kitchen cabinets with a simple scrub of one part vegetable oil to two parts baking soda. Scrub with an old tooth brush to reach extra-fine lines that make cabinetry look dark and dull.
  6. Sterilize Toys. By throwing fabric toys in a mesh laundry bag, you can disinfect and shine armfuls of plush toys in just one spin through the washing machine. Try this same trick in your dishwasher with those tough plastic toys!
  7. Remove pet hair. Grossed out by pet hair in the carpet the vacuum can’t seem to pick up? Run a window squeegee over your carpet by hand – the rubberized edge will pull up and collect hair in one easy-to-grab clump.
  8. Revamp your garbage disposal. Fill an ice cube tray with a mixture that’s eight parts water and one part vinegar, and drop a sliver of lemon rind in each slot. Drop a few frozen cubes down the drain to clean, deodorize, and sharpen your garbage disposal in one fell swoop.
  9. Rid grout of scum. With ¾ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup bleach, create a paste that you can apply between mildewed tile on showers and oven backsplashes. After 10 minutes, gently scrub off with a toothbrush and a damp rag to reveal clean and clear grout.
  10. Sanitize everything. From windows to tubs, hit areas in need of deep disinfectant easily by screwing a spray bottle head onto a bottle of hydrogen peroxide for an instant, even spray. Hydrogen peroxide is the perfect remedy to get tough stains out.

Is your spending plan in need of some spring cleaning? Our financial experts can help you clean up your expenses and make the most of your budget. Give us a call at (319) 334-7035 and learn how today!


Puppy Proofing Your Home in 5 Simple Steps

Posted on April 8th, 2016 in Community, General, Pet Gifts by vgmforbin |

Puppy Training

Sit. Stay. Go potty! Mastering these common phrases can mean only one thing – you’ve got a new puppy! Adding this furry faced addition to your family is an exciting event that comes with lots of new experiences. If you’re lost in the array of training tutorials and home preparation advice, let Security State Bank help you make sense of it all!

To prepare your home for your new puppy there are some things to look out for!


  1. Keep your trash hidden. Curious pups will try to find new scents along the floor and into the waste basket. Maintain a clean kitchen by keeping your bin out of reach.
  2. Some plants may be poisonous to pets so check your household greenery and move any potentially harmful pots above where you new companion might reach.
  3. Growing puppies are hungry puppies, be sure to put away any food from tables or counters that might cause an unwary nose to go looking.
  4. House training doesn’t happen overnight, in order to prevent accidents in areas that are hard to clean up, keep your pup in a specific area using baby gates while you’re away.
  5. Chewing is common way puppies deal with teething, and while a stray sock or shoe might meet their grasps, electrical cords or other wires should not be left on the floor for them to attempt to bite.

Play time with your puppy is an activity that you both will grow to love. Before getting invested in too much extra training, be sure your puppy is learning these basic lessons!


  1. Walking – Help them learn to keep pace by having your pup walk next to you or behind you, allowing you to be the leader of the pack.
  2. Potty Outdoors – Learning to go to the bathroom outside takes time. Each time you see your pup going in the house simply startle them and move them outside as soon as you can.
  3. Following a Schedule – Maintaining a daily schedule helps both you and your dog get used to the various times to eat, exercise, and break for the bathroom.
  4. Understanding Keywords – Using phrases like “good”, “bad”, and “no” repetitively can help your pup to understand the individual meanings. Try using specific voice influxes to help them understand the difference, speaking in a higher pitch emphasis when praising for good, and a lower tone when disciplining for bad.
  5. Have Fun – The reason you have this new companion is to enjoy their company as they add a valuable personality to your family. Be sure to make time for games, walks, and other activities to enjoy with your new pup.

Whether this is your first puppy, or your fifth, there are always new tips and tricks to learn! Let us know how our training tutorial has helped you and your furry friend by sharing a photo of your pet with us on of our Facebook page.

How-To Grow a Bountiful Garden in 7 Easy Steps

Posted on March 25th, 2016 in Agriculture, Being Thankful, Community, General, Seasonal by vgmforbin |


Spring is almost here! Dust the rust off your gardening gear and get ready to start planting some perennials! With so many fun and colorful ways to spruce up your landscape, try some of these helpful gardening tips to help you get started courtesy of Security State Bank!

  1. Don’t be a Plunker.

Have you ever gone to a gardening store, randomly picked out some plants, gone home and plunked them in the ground? Then you my friend may be a plunker. To optimize your garden, and ensure it lasts through the season, make a strategic plan to where each plant will go – and stick to it!

  1. Create a Layout

Once you’ve selected what types of plants you want to compliment your home, take photos of your flower beds, and map out what will go where. This helps in planning what plants may grow better together, while others might grow best apart.

  1. Start Small

If you’re not careful a small garden can become a full time job! A good place to start is 6’x6’plot. This manageable size offers plenty of space for several varieties of plants and gives you ample room to test your green thumb, without letting the growth get carried away.

  1. Make Sure Your Eyes Aren’t Bigger Than Your Space

Different flowers and vegetables can take up different ranges of space. Be sure not to overextend your soil with crowded garden.

  1. Water is Important

Before starting any major gardening undertaking be sure that water is close by, otherwise you’ll be hauling buckets of H20 once a heat spell hits.

  1. Beware of Animals

Unfortunately you are not Snow White, and the adorable looking animals are not your garden’s friend. Your lovely garden is now their favorite salad bar, so be sure to invest in some sound fencing to help keep them out.

  1. Start with the Basics

If you’re a first time gardener be sure to enjoy the fruits of your labor with these quick growing producers; tomatoes, radishes, onions, green beans, peas, and lettuce.

Whether this is your first year gardening or your 30th, there are always new tips and tricks to learn! Try out these helpful gardening tips, and let us know how it goes! Be sure to share you results with us on our Facebook page.


Celebrating Our 75th Anniversary: Things Older Than Security State Bank

Posted on March 10th, 2016 in Being Thankful, Community, General by vgmforbin |

75th Anniversary


Over the past 75 years Security State Bank has seen history be made, witnessed incredible new inventions, and paved the way through decades of financial changes. As we begin to celebrate our 75th Anniversary we want to take a look into the past, and share the pinnacle moments in history leading up to the beginning of Security State Bank.

1931: U.S. National Anthem is created.

1932: Air Conditioning is invented.

1933: Prohibition officially ends.

1935: Monopoly is born.

1936: Jessie Owens wins 4 Gold Medals at the Berlin Summer Olympics.

1937: J.R.R. Tolkien releases the book The Hobbit.

1938: Snow White premiers as the first animated film.

1939: The first Helicopter takes flight.

1940: Neil Diamond is born.

1941: Security State Bank opens its doors.

Each of these events signifies a new change and impact to the United States, and the communities it is comprised of. At Security State Bank we work to make a positive impact within Independence, and surrounding areas, each and every day. We value the incredible customers we work with, and their unique insight in how to create a better future. Everyone has the potential to be a part of greatness; greatness in innovation, greatness in creation, greatness in invention, and greatness in compassion.  Let the events of the past inspire you to look forward to find your dreams for the future.

Getting your idea off the ground is the first step to creating your own page in the history books. Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable and motivating people is one of the greatest tools to help propel you into success. Whether you’re looking for strategic business financing, a hassle free way to manage your finances online, or simply looking to establish a structured business checking account, Security State Bank is here to help guide you along the road to financial success.

Stop by your nearest location and learn how to get started on your new idea today!

Make Someone’s Day with These Easy Random Acts of Kindness

Posted on February 3rd, 2016 in Being Thankful, Casual for a Cause, Community, General by vgmforbin |

Random Acts Kindness

At Security State Bank, we love the incredible customers that are a part of our every day! Each of our customers bring an added sunshine to our day. Create a little extra light in someone’s day with these easy random acts of kindness. You’ll be glad you did!

1. Pay for the person’s food or beverage behind you in line.

2. Write a letter to a soldier.

3. Donate new and used toys to daycares or children’s hospitals.

4. Cook a meal for a family who may be without.

5. Give a good server the largest tip you can afford.

6. Scoop snow or do other yard work for your neighbor.

7. Pick up trash at an area park.

8. Offer assistance to a charitable organization with your time and skills.

9. Bake treats for your area school’s teachers.

10. Visit a nursing home and spend time with the residents.

11. Next hunting season donate your deer to the Iowa HUSH program to help feed Iowa citizens in need.

With so many opportunities to make a difference, this list will help you get started! Add your own acts of kindness and see what you can do to better the lives of others this year. It may be as simple as opening the door for someone, or as complex as planning a fundraiser for a family in need. No matter what you choose to do, we’re here to help you along the way! We can assist you in remaining anonymous through donations, arrange monthly transfers, dispense cash for personal giving, and more!

For more information call us at (319) 334-7035 or shoot us an email on our website!


Shrinking Student Loans

Posted on January 15th, 2016 in Compound Interest, Financial Management by vgmforbin |

StudentLoansWith college costs growing year after year, how do you go about securing the finances to further your education without ending up with a mountain of debt? Security State Bank is here to help guide you on your financial path of greater education! Use these tips and tricks to ensure you don’t bust the bank with your secondary education.

  • Choose your loans wisely: Calculate the cost of the necessities – tuition, room and board, textbooks, and transportation – and sign loans that cover only what you need, even if you qualify for more. A part-time job or summer position can provide funds for added nonessential expenses. Your loan might allow you to defer interest while you’re still in school. However, unless it’s subsidized, it will accrue interest immediately. Unpaid interest can then compound and add to the principal, creating an even larger amount to repay. Paying interest as you go is another great way to decrease your overall costs and keep you debt maintainable.
  • Increase your payments: If you’re on a 10-year installment plan, you’re paying a decade of interest on top of your original loan, adding more debt to your plate. When possible, pay back more than the minimum agreement each month and chop off extra time and interest. If you have multiple loans, direct your additional payments towards the loan with the highest interest rate. The faster you can pare down the principal, the less you accrue in exorbitant interest.
  • Make installments as often as you are able: With less time between payments for interest to accumulate, an accelerated payment plan can decrease your repayment term. By doubling your schedule of installments and making more payments over the same time period, you’re able to lessen the interest and pay your loan off sooner.
  • Track your interest: Motivate yourself with a continually updated track record of your current interest. The longer you have the loan, the more money you spend towards interest. Incentivize yourself by creating a cap for how much you want to pay in interest on a yearly basis. Let that help guide in making those extra payments.

Education is an important accomplishment in life, and we applaud those who take the initiative to obtain their degrees. If you’re a current or prospective student stop by Security State Bank today to learn about our online bill pay and other financial tools to help you maintain successful finances throughout your collegiate career.

Home Buying Do’s and Dont’s

Posted on January 4th, 2016 in Financial Management, Mortgages by vgmforbin |

HomebuyingWinter is the perfect time to purchase your new home! With so many hoops and obstacles to jump through in the home buying adventure, let Security State Bank guide you through it! Before you launch the search for your new abode, consider these do’s and don’ts of first-time home buying to make the process as quick and easy as possible.


  • Secure a loan before a home: While the hunt for your new home is exciting, your final decision will depend on the mortgage you can secure. Your first step in the home buying search should take place with a loan officer who can assess your mortgage qualifications, and your pre-approved mortgage amount. This provides a framework in guiding the search so you don’t expend time and money on houses outside your budgeted means.
  • Take your time: The average homeowner occupies their house for nine years before relocating. Ensure your choice is the best by conducting extra research and planning any potential projects or remodels along the way. Make sure to track trends in the housing market to discover the most cost-effective season for your area. Weigh personal, important factors beyond price listing, such as neighborhood quality, length of commute, and room to expand as your family continues to grow.
  • Consult the professionals: The listing agent represents the interests of the seller, not the buyer. As a first-time home buyer, you’ll need as much trusted, unbiased advice as you can garner. Ask friends and family to recommend their real estate agents so you receive counsel from a professional with a track-record of success.


  • Look at homes well over your budget: You set a budget for a reason. Stick to it! Paying more than you designated for a home can financially limit you to update and repair as needed. By spending within your originally determined limit, you’ll avoid heftier mortgages and continue to withhold extra funds for any household incidentals.
  • Empty savings into a down payment: Securing your mortgage requires a down payment. Putting down less than 20% requires you to buy mortgage insurance ranging about 0.3% to 1.5% of the original loan amount each year. To avoid this added expense, some home buyers drain their savings to cover the down payment upfront. Liquidating your account, however, leaves you without a safety net in the event of job loss or medical emergency. The expense of mortgage insurance is worth the financial cushion you can leave in your account, and you can always eliminate the added insurance by refinancing your mortgage once you’ve paid off 20% on your principal.
  • Speed through the closing: The end is in sight, but don’t let the glow of the finish line obscure your view of the paperwork. Review documents with a fine-tooth comb, double check that nothing has been altered in your agreement, and ensure that it describes your understanding of the transaction to a “T”. A day or two of extra analyzing can save you years of headaches!

Begin your home-buying process today with our mortgage lenders at Security State Bank, we’d love to help you get started!