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Displaying blog entries 141-150 of 179

Wondering Whether {Weather} Or Not Now Is The Time To Buy?

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Let’s talk about the weather, shall we? Yes, the weather.  We’re Iowans, we LOVE to talk weather – good weather, bad weather, impending weather, and patterns of weather.  Whether (hardy har har!) you realize it or not, WEATHER plays a significant role in the real estate market.

 

 

Sales trends can vary largely based on seasonal temperatures and precipitation, as can the perspective with which prospective buyers are looking.  Studies have shown that, generally, the spring and summer months are optimum times to market a home and winter is the worst (duh!).  It’s a no brainer to say that homes just show better on bright, sunny days.  Even some not-so-pretty properties tend to look nicer when the sun is shining and birds are chirping.  Like wise, cold temps, wind, rain, and snow can be major deterrents for buyers.

 

As a potential buyer it is important to remember a couple things with regards to weather and your home shopping search.  First of all, dreary winter days and moist spring months might just be the *perfect* time to capitalize on fast closing times or other negotiation strategies offered by motivated sellers. Secondly, professional inspections are, in our opinion, always worth the investment.  A high quality inspector will pay special attention to “off-season” items or potential problems.  For example, in the middle of winter, it is easy to pinpoint heating related issues, but a competent inspection will ensure the HVAC is functioning properly, as well.  Fireplaces, pools, irrigation systems, and windows are all other “seasonal” items that can often be overlooked.  Finally, if you’re in the market for a home, remember that not all homes are listed in just the nice weather months.  There are many (many!) circumstances that dictate when a seller needs to sell and regardless of season, there are always great opportunities out there and beautiful homes to be bought!

 

Looking to get a head start on the spring temps?  Want to take advantage of interest rates that are still below average? NEED to find a home now, even in these less than ideal weather conditions?  We’d be happy to help! Let’s work together despite this dreary weather!  Call us today! 515.964.3662

6 Easy Steps For Decluttering Your Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Whether you’re in the spring cleaning mood or readying your home for sale, DECLUTTERING your space can be difficult and downright overwhelming.  That is why we’ve put together a list of 6 easy steps to help ease the stress of cleaning out your stuff!  Well, what are you waiting for?  Clear that clutter!

 

1.  Make A Plan, Man! Whether it be a weekend’s worth of work, or many months, start with a written out strategy.  Begin with a list of areas of the home that need decluttered, then set dates to tackle those spaces, and stick with it! Oh, and one other must-do to boost morale and increase motivation?  Tackle your most dreaded/cluttered areas first.  See the payoff from those cleaned out spaces will be enough to keep you going!  And don’t forget to the enlist the help of your family/housemates. 

 

This is just one example of how your declutter calendar/plan could look:

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Or try this method:

 

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Find what works for you!

 

2.  Ready yourself...both mentally and physically.  Once you have your decluttering added to the calendar, you’ll be more likely to actually do it AND be prepared for it!  Give yourself no excuses to skip the stress by having the necessary supplies, such as trash bags, laundry baskets (keep reading), boxes, music, food, and a clear mind.

 

3.  Give yourself a set amount of time.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up on clearing things out midway through, so we suggest working in blocks of time.  Whether it is 15 minutes, twice a day, or 3 hours on the weekend, set yourself up to succeed! And remember, slow and steady sometimes wins the race.  Commit to one room, drawer, closet, or area per day and see a BIG impact in no time at all!

 

4.  Make 3 Piles: Keep, Donate, Trash.  This is an easy system for your big stuff sort and, likely, everything you come across can be categorized in one of these 3 areas.  We recommend using large laundry baskets that can easily be moved from room to room or space to space.  Label your baskets, and don’t second guess your initial reaction! 

 

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Questions to ask yourself when deciding how to sort objects:

● Do I use this?

● Do I need this?

● Will I even know it is gone?

 

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5. Get creative with storage and use what you have!  Storage ottomans, cubes, boxes and baskets all make for useful clutter keepers. Think outside the box and, if necessary, invest in storage solutions -- but NOT before assessing your need!

 

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6. Designate a spot for everything AND a system for paper clutter.  This is the key to keeping clutter at bay.  Taking the time to organize after you’ve sorted all the stuff, will pay off HUGE when the doesn’t come back!  Check out our previous post on Home Organization for easy, applicable ideas!

 

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Bottom line when it comes to streamlining your stuff? Decluttering can be done effectively and with minimal stress if you have a plan and stick with it!  

Ankeny Listing Coming Soon: Pool House Preview!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With spring and summer just around the corner, NOW is the time to start thinking about making the most of warmer weather that is sure to be here soon!  And what better way to spend your summer than swimming and lounging poolside?!?  BUT, as we all know, pool properties in Ankeny are hard to come by...which is why we’re excited to share this soon-to-be listing, coming in mid-May, and complete with an IN-GROUND SWIMMING POOL.

 

 

 

This all brick 1,900 square foot ranch home not only boasts an in-ground pool, but also has an extensive party deck, patio area, significant landscaping, sliders from the large master suite with access to the hot tub deck, and many home updates. 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a well-priced pool property perfect for entertaining, relaxing, and enjoying the outdoors, this might just be the home for you!  Stay tuned for additional details and pictures coming soon.  This home will not last long!  Call us (515-964-3662) today for more information!

 

Trending: Man Caves

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Today’s real estate market has brought with it some often hard-to-find house hunter requests -- theatre rooms, scrapbooking spaces, and master bedroom laundry rooms -- just to name a few!  However, perhaps one of our favorites is the coveted MAN CAVE!  Not really a cave at all, this masculine metaphor is one of the most popular requests to top the list of “must-haves” on a man’s list.

 

So, what is a man cave?

 

man cave

noun Informal.

 

: a room or space (as in a basement) designed according to the taste of the man of the house to be used as his personal area for hobbies and leisure activities.

 

For many (if not the majority!) of our male clients, a Man Cave is not just a space where they can watch endless hours of sports on an outrageously large television, it is a place where they can be free of female decorating influences!  And just because you’re not in the market for a new home (& especially if you are!), doesn’t mean that you can’t make your own man cave.  That’s right!  All you need is a room (think: basement, garage, attic, spare bedroom, media room, or den) and a few essentials!

 

Below you will find a list of our favorite Man Cave essentials to get you started on a room sure to make every man envious!

 

1. Television.  Every functional Man Cave should, without a doubt, have a well-functioning TV.  Bigger is NOT always better, however.  Buy what your budget and space allow.  And if we might offer one more piece of advice?  Ensure that your tube is high-definition AND that your cable/dish provider offers the channels important to you!

 

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2. Funny signs.  Humorous or not, signs can add character to your space.  Decorate with items that show-off your interests and personality!

 

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3. Refrigerator. Bonus points if you keep it stocked!

 

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4. Snack area. Again, a fully stocked snack section scores major points with friends.  And remember that something as simple as a snack table can also be multifunctional, finding uses for meals, poker, and other games.

 

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5. Plenty of {comfy} seating.  Word of advice: don’t skimp on the seating.  Work within your budget (& space), but we encourage sofas, chairs, bar stools, and a place to put up your feet.

 

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6. Sports memorabilia and/or movie posters.  This is a great way to decorate your room and it doesn’t have to be pricey!  Use what you have or score some free posters from your local high school or college teams.  Movie posters are also relatively inexpensive way to add a little life to those otherwise boring walls!

 

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All joking aside, your newly created Man Cave might serve as a fun space to hang out, but it can certainly also add to the value of your home.  Curious about the value of your home -- Man Cave and all?  Call us today to have an analysis of your home’s value emailed to you directly!

Easy Ways to Add Character to a Newer Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

It’s been said that your home reflects who you are.  But what if you’re a full-of-personality-ambiance-loving-architectural-adoring-vintage-craving homeowner with a perfectly nice, newer, somewhat characterless home that just doesn’t fit your nature?  Well, we have good news!  We want you to love where you live and feel like your home is a reflection of you, which is why we’re here with 5 fairly easy, relatively inexpensive ideas to up the charm-factor of your newer home! 

 

Upgrade Fixtures

 

While, generally small in nature, updating things like lighting, hardware, door knobs, and outlet panels, make a BIG difference.  Chandeliers and pendant light fixtures, along with dimming lights and lamps, will give that moody ambiance often overlooked in newer homes.

 

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Update Doors

 

Here is an AWESOME post from Beneath My Heart on how to replace builder-grade doors with paneled ones.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned, solid-wood, 5-panel door?  Rid yourself of the builder-grade hollow-core doors by making the switch to something with a little more style.

 

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Add Molding/Trimwork

 

Much of the character in older homes is due to the attention paid to the detailing of woodwork.  You can recreate this architectural look by adding base or crown molding, bead board or board and batten to walls, or even faux vintage ceiling beams.

 

 

 

Vinyl Decals

 

From letters and numbers to sayings and simple graphics, vinyl wall decals are an easy, extremely inexpensive way to add character and personality to a boring wall or piece of furniture.

 

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Wood Flooring

 

The look of original, restored hardwood floors is a timeless feature and can easily be recreated.

 

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Quick Winter Getaways

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Don’t let the frigid forecast keep you home this winter!  While you might not have the time, money, or ability to take a trip to the beach, there are plenty of fun getaway options that are just a quick car ride away!  So, whether you want a relaxing weekend to remember or a “kick-out-the-cabin-fever-jam-packed” adventure, we’ve got you covered!  Here are a few in-and-around Iowa ideas for your winter weather getaway!

 

1.  Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Dubuque, Iowa - Located in the Port of Dubuque, Grand Harbor is the perfect spot for enjoying this beautiful and exciting destination area.  With over 25,000 square feet of indoor waterpark and a Watersquirts Kids Club as the hub of great family activities, this location is sure to rank high among even the hard-to-please family members!

 

 

2.  Minneapolis, MN - Our neighbors to the north offer an abundance of winter activities and attractions.  Because, after all, no one does winter like Minnesotans (said in our best accent!).  Explore Minnesota is your one-stop shop for easy getaway ideas!  From the Mall Of America and skiing to dining out and nightlife, Minneapolis can’t be beat (well, maybe only by Des Moines!).

 

 

3.  Adventureland Resort - This year round destination offers a sunlit tropical courtyard, surrounded by lush plants and sparkling blue water!  Don’t let the closure of their amusement park keep you away!  This resort with three pools, a swim-up bar, hot tubs, and a restaurant is plenty of fun on its own!

 

 

4.  Ramada Tropics Resort, Des Moines, Iowa - The recently renovated Ramada Tropics Resort & Conference Center offers something for every traveler, boasting 8,000 square feet of meeting space as well as an 18,000-square-foot indoor water park, the only such amusement park of its kind in Des Moines. This family resort also offers an excellent bar and grill, plus a poolside tiki bar for adults. The kids (or kids at heart!) will love the park's three pools, pirate ship, and water slides.

 

 

5.  Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden - The Des Moines Botanical Center is one of the most popular attractions in Iowa (especially during the winter months!), providing educational, recreational, and community resources to thousands!  It is located on 14 acres along the east bank of the Des Moines River, close to downtown and is a definite “to-do” during the cold days of winter!

 

 

6.  Honey Creek Resort, Moravia, Iowa - By itself the Honey Creek Resort indoor water park (Buccaneer Bay) would be plenty of fun for a quick winter trip, but their offerings don’t stop there! There are winter rentals, hikes, tours, cooking demonstrations, games, a library, and much more!

 

 

7.  Lakeside Hotel and Casino, Osceola, Iowa - An adult adventure, for sure, Lakeside Hotel and Casino offers accommodations, gambling (duh!), dining, and plenty of entertainment.  

 

Keeping You Safe: Preventing Burglaries

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

Did you know that almost 40% of annual household burglaries in the United States are not forced entries?  This means that homes were broken into by walking, climbing, or crawling into a house, almost as easy as if the owner’s left the keys in the door! {source

 

Making your home a safe-haven does NOT have to require a lot of money or time -- just a little common sense.  Continue reading for 9 steps that you can take to ensure your home and family stay safe.

 

1.  Lock the doors.  Although this seems obvious, you would be astounded at the number of homes that are left unlocked during the day while residents are at work or at night when they are sleeping.  Be diligent and SMART -- lock the doors AND windows!  Windows should not only be shut, but locked when you are away from home.  There is no point in locking the doors if the windows are open.

 

2.  Make doors and windows visible to the street and neighbors.  Burglars will be deterred from breaking into your home if they know there is a high probability of being seen by neighbors or passersby.  Cut away shrubs and tree limbs that could hide burglars.

 

3. Keep valuables out of sight.  This goes for IN the house and OUT.  Possessions that might be of interest to intruders should be out of view from the windows (privacy curtains work, too!) and your outdoor “toys” (bikes, lawn mowers, grills, etc.) should be stored indoors or in a garage/shed.

 

4. Get rid of trash, like boxes, that may advertise, “Hey!  I got a brand new TV!” This may be as simple as breaking boxes down or disposing of them at another location.

 

5. Leave an illusion that someone is home, even when you are NOT.  This can be done by turning on outside lights at night (consider using a timer if you are out of town) or leaving music and a television on during the day. 

 

6.  Spare keys should be left with a trusted friend, family member or neighbor -- NOT hidden under the flower pot or welcome mat outside your front door.  Burglars make themselves familiar with common hiding spots for spare keys.  Use common sense and don’t make it easy!

 

7.  Secure sliding doors and windows with a strong dowel, steel bar, or 2x4.  This will ensure that even if an intruder is able to pick the lock, he or she will not be able to slide it open.

 

8.  In today’s social society, homeowners tend to share way too much!  If you are going on a vacation or just planning on being away from home for a period of time, DO NOT advertise your absence on social media platforms.  Instead, opt for posting pics and sharing about your adventures after you return home (to your non-broken into residence!).

 

9.  Finally, consider investing in a security alarm to deter burglars and alert authorities if there is a break-in. Many insurance companies offer discounts on home security systems, and we think it might be worth your effort to contact your agent.

 

See?  There is nothing ground-breaking or difficult when it comes to keeping your home safe!  Could you take all these actions and still experience a burglary?  Sure!  But we encourage you to take these necessary, commonsensical steps to prevent break-ins.  Being diligent and educated can pay off when it comes to the protection of your home and family! 

Trending: How To Create a LOVE-LY Master Bedroom

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With Valentine’s Day just ONE day away, we thought it was the perfect time to talk about what’s happening behind the closed doors of your master bedroom.  And, of course, by “what’s happening,” we mean how your master bedroom is decorated!  

 

(Do we have your attention now?!)

 

Master bedrooms are often overlooked and ignored when it comes to updating and decorating, but we think that your bedroom deserves as much attention and care as your kitchen, living, and dining room.  After all, you DO spend approximately one-third of your life in it!  Might as well make it as comfy and as retreat-like as possible, right?

 

We think so!  Therefore, we compiled a short list of simple, low-cost ideas to makeover your master into a cozy place to crash, where you’ll be sure to have sweet dreams!

 

1.  Make it functional.  From sitting spaces and libraries to exercise areas and home offices, why not make your room work for you?  It may be just as simple as adding a small desk or comfy chair to the corner.  Regardless, seating in the bedroom can make a room feel cozy and inviting. 

 

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2.  Light it up!  Use any windows to your advantage, but also reserve the right to your privacy.  Think: Roman shades or wooden blinds that can be opened during the day to let the light shine in and then closed again at night to ensure maximum privacy and darkness for a good night’s sleep.  And don’t forget the lamps!  We’re firm believers that you can never have too many light sources!  Soft lamp light is sure to make your room feel warm and cozy.

 

Lastly, does your master have a great view that just can’t be beat?  If so, take advantage and arrange your room accordingly. 

 

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3.  Small changes can make a BIG difference!  Simply put: pick some paint and invest in a new, fresh bedding set!  This IS a place that you’re planning on spending a significant amount of time, right?  Well, then, fancy it up!  Start with finding a new sheet set, duvet, comforter, or quilt that fits your personality and decorating style, then choose a paint color to match.  Trust us -- you will be AMAZED at what these simple updates will do for your sweet dreams!

 

 

4.  Make it personal!  Your room should reflect youFrom simple pieces of personalized artwork and gorgeous photo galleries, to vinyl decor and wall treatments, your options for self expression are endless.

 

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5.  Regardless of how beautiful your bedroom is, YOU will not want to spend any extra time in there unless it is comfortable!  And, while this may be a bit more of an investment, we encourage you to collect furniture that comfy and well-crafted.  But don’t forget to look beyond the fancy furniture to pillows, blankets, rugs, and other cozy textiles.  Additions such as these are relatively low-cost and have a big impact.  So, begin there and when the time is right, start your furniture shopping with comfort and durability in mind.

 

Bottom line?  Making your master dream-worthy doesn’t have to be costly and exhausting.  Start simple, think outside the box, and work towards a comfortable and inviting space where you can rest easy and retreat when necessary. 

 

And with that, friends, we’d like to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with L-O-V-E and many sweet dreams!

2014 Des Moines Home & Garden Show

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Raise your hand if you’re in desperate need of a break from this long winter! We certainly are!

 

Well, we’re here with some good new for us all -- the Des Moines Home & Garden Show is happening now.  Like, TODAY through Sunday!  It is the perfect way to distract yourself from these cold, snowy winter days AND help you re-focus on what it is to come...warm, sunny spring and summer days conducive to home improvements and gardening goodness.

 

The 36th annual Des Moines Home & Garden Show is sure to be full of fantastically fun features, such as over 400 exhibitors, national and local celebrities (helllloooo, Ty Pennington!), and all of the latest products and services in the building and remodeling industry.  A show known for its feature gardens (designed with local celebrities), the Des Moines Home & Garden Show guarantees that attendees will not be bored!  You are sure to find “innovative products, new ideas, practical advice, and great deals in remodeling, home improvement and gardening, with hundreds of experts under one roof.”  In addition, with an increasing demand for the full range of home furnishings, interiors and outdoor lifestyle products, this exhibition is the ideal place to keep up on the latest and greatest, and to bring a little spring and summer inside during this frigid February.

 


From widows and flooring to cabinets and landscaping, and so much more, be sure to come, shop, compare and save! 

 

 

DATES & HOURS

 

 

 

 

Thursday - February 6, 2014

 

12:00 pm

-

9:00 pm

Friday - February 7, 2014

 

10:00 am

-

9:00 pm

Saturday - February 8, 2014

 

9:00 am

-

9:00 pm

Sunday - February 9, 2014

 

10:00 am

-

6:00 pm

 

 

LOCATION

Iowa Events Center

730 3rd Street

Des Moines, IA 50309

515-564-8000

www.iowaeventscenter.com

 

 

ADMISSION

Adults

$ 11.00

 

Adults (Online)

$ 9.00

 

Children Ages 7 - 12

$ 4.00

 

Children Ages 6 & Under

FREE

 

Group Tickets (Minimum of 20 tickets)

$7.00 each

 

 

 

Tickets can be purchased at the evening or in advance by visiting the website

 

What To Serve At Your Super Bowl Party

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Are you in the midst of planning a last-minute Super Bowl party, but just don’t know what to serve?  Just like the decorations, your food options are endless!  And what was supposed to be a fun get-together with your fellow friends & football fans, is now a source of stress.  Well, stress no more!  We are here to save the day...or at least give you some great crowd pleasing, easy ideas for hosting the best Big Game bash!

 

So, here we go!  Our favorite football party foods, in no particular order.

 

Make it a tailgate!  We wrote a whole post on terrific tailgating, but just to refresh your memory -- fire up the grill, serve hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and dip.  Then, pull out the yard games (weather permitting!  We’re thinking a basement or garage might be a better Iowa option...) and let your guests enjoy the low-key, lots-of-fun atmosphere.

 

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Get guests involved -- Call it a Super Bowl Party Potluck.  This doesn’t have to resemble a post-fellowship-jello-salad-in-the-church-basement potluck that you’re familiar with!  Nope, ask guests to bring their very favorite appetizer, snack, side, main dish or dessert.  As the host you can opt to provide the table settings and drinks...or not!  Your party, your rules!  Have fun with it and don’t feel bad about asking friends to contribute.  You are hosting, afterall! 

 

 

Pardon our pun, but we think a Souper Bowl could be fun!  From chicken noodle and potato to stew, chowder, and chili, a variety of warm soups would surely please even the pickiest of partiers.  And you can even up the ease by calling on your crockpot.  Prepare the soups early, then join your guests and enjoy the festivities.

 

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Walking Tacos/Nacho Bar would be as easy as it sounds! Let your guests get involved by creating their own nach/walking taco concoction.  Offer up taco meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, sour cream, salsa, and so much more.  No one will go home hungry. 

 

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We’re stating the obvious here but -- PIZZA!  Really, it can’t get any easier than picking up the phone and ordering a couple of pies!  Everyone loves pizza...almost as much as parties!

 

 

Finally, for all of you over-achievers...Go BIG!  We’re thinking this would earn you some MAJOR party points!

 

 

 

Displaying blog entries 141-150 of 179