Jason Kok

Real Estate Broker
Lake Homes and Farms Realty


Welcome to the Lake Homes and Farms Realty blog. Here you will find all of the latest information and what is happening around our office and Lake Sundown. Check back often and if you have any questions about land for sale in the state of Iowa or Lake Sundown give us a call. Also make sure and like us on Facebook and stay connected on LinkedIn.

Latest Posts

Dredging at Lake Sundown 2019

Posted by Jason Kok | September 6, 2019
Categories: News

The Sundown Lake Rural Improvement Zone awarded Macgruder dredging services a bid to start a hydraulic dredging project at Sundown Lake. Iowa Rural Improvement Zone law 357h allow specific areas surrounding lakes to use tax increment dollars to finance dredging and erosion measures to improve areas that need it.

What does all this mean?? In 2012, the Sundown Lake residents began seeing an obvious need for improvements in the lake. Through the work of individuals and committees they found the best solution was to work with the County. The residents properly petitioned the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors to establish a Rural Improvement Zone. In 2014, the zone was approved and funding started to flow in with Tax increment Financed dollars being utilized to start working on needed improvements at the lake. Many different engineered ideas were floated around and a Capital Improvement Plan (master plan) was established. The West and the South bays of the lake were recognized to have heavy silt burdens and it was quite obvious that dredging was needed.

Over the next several years easements and properties were acquired by the Sundown Lake RIZ board to start building a containment basin to put the silt into. Along the way a few smaller projects were cost-shared with owners to mechanically dredge bays and build erosion controlled dams.

Fast forward to 2019 and for the first time since Sundown Lake was built in the early 1970’s we are able to get some of the material out of the lake to help with water depth and clarity issues. This should be a big shot in the arm for owners that had seen some of their water depths disappear over the past 15 years. 125,000 cubic yards of material will be taken out of the west end of the lake in the fall of 2019 and nearly 50,000 cubic yards will be removed from the South arm of the lake.

The future goals of the Sundown Lake RIZ is to continue a maintenance dredging program and work on control measures that will slow the water and silt from entering the lake. This is an on-going never ending process but with the support of the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors combined with a healthy HOA and Rural Improvement Zone board Sundown Lake has a very bright future.

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Finding Your Lakeside Retreat: Owning a Second Home in Iowa

Posted by Jason Kok | September 18, 2023
Categories: News

Iowa may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a lakeside getaway, but the state is home to some stunning lakes and reservoirs that offer the perfect setting for a second home. Owning a second home by the water in Iowa can provide you with a peaceful escape, recreational opportunities, and a chance to create lasting memories. In this blog, we’ll explore the joys of second home ownership at lakes in Iowa.

1. Tranquil Retreat

Imagine waking up to the gentle lapping of water against the shore and the sight of the sun rising and setting over a serene lake. Second home ownership at Iowa’s lakes offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether it’s for weekends or extended vacations, your lakeside retreat can become your oasis of calm.

2. Recreational Paradise

Iowa’s lakes are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From boating and fishing to swimming and hiking, there’s no shortage of recreational activities to enjoy. Many lakeside communities have marinas, boat docks, and easy access to water sports, making it a perfect destination for those who love the great outdoors.

3. Family Bonding

A second home by the lake is an ideal place for family gatherings and creating cherished memories. Whether you’re roasting marshmallows around a campfire, taking leisurely boat rides, or simply enjoying a picnic on the shore, a lakeside second home provides a unique backdrop for quality family time.

4. Investment Potential

Beyond its recreational benefits, owning a second home at an Iowa lake can also be a smart investment. The appeal of lakeside living often leads to strong rental demand. When you’re not using your property, you can potentially earn rental income to offset expenses or even turn it into a profitable investment.

5. Varied Choices

Iowa boasts an array of lakes and reservoirs to choose from, each with its own character and charm. Whether you prefer the vibrant atmosphere of the Okoboji region, the quiet serenity of Clear Lake, or the stunning views at Rathbun Lake, there’s a lakefront property in Iowa to suit your preferences.

6. Community Connection

Lakeside communities in Iowa often have a strong sense of community. You’ll have the opportunity to get to know your neighbors, participate in local events, and truly immerse yourself in the relaxed lakeside lifestyle.


Owning a second home at one of Iowa’s beautiful lakes can be a dream come true. It’s a chance to escape the daily grind, embrace the natural beauty of the state, and create cherished memories with loved ones. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat, recreational opportunities, or an investment opportunity, Iowa’s lakeside properties have something to offer every homeowner. Consider making your lakeside retreat a reality and experience the joys of second home ownership in the heart of the Midwest.

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Zillow Estimates in a Rural Area

Posted by Jason Kok | August 9, 2023
Categories: News

Zillow is not by most investors and real estate professionals regarded as the best or even a very good reference for accurate real estate values or prices. Zillow’s algorithm method is only as good as the number of like sales in a defined area. They rely on the accuracy of input by people after a sale is made. Its site is used primarily to market and attract buyers and sellers. Take note how many ads and solicitations you get when requesting further information on specific listings. While our agency feels that Zillow is an awesome marketing platform we feel that when determining property values Zestimates are purely a crude estimate and should not be treated as “gospel”. We do feel that Zillow has a great marketing platform and should be used as a resource for that purpose. We do not believe they should be in the appraisal business.

Put it to you in most simple way if you have a unique property or a specialty market you want to rely on professional that knows the dynamics and values of the neighborhood. In the car business there is a reason why people specialize in Ford, GM, or other brands of vehicles so that they can service those vehicles and protect the consumer because they know their product inside and out. Cars also have a unique distinction when determining value that many are replicated over and over. How many 2023 Red Ford F-150’s exist. Better yet how many are sold in a year in the state you live in. Hopefully you are getting the point. While determining value is important leave it to the people in the industry there is not a Kelly Blue Book or NADA value for a home or property. No two pieces of land that are identical even if the home and floor plan are. That is why we believe you want to find a professional that truly knows the “ins” and “outs” of what you are buying or selling in the real estate field.

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Top tips for house hunting online

Posted by Jason Kok | December 18, 2022
Categories: News

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
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Dispelling Refinancing Myths

Posted by Jason Kok | October 18, 2020
Categories: News

“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.


For years now, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.


Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?


Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing.

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