Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 161-170 of 179

There's An App For That: Top Smart Phone Apps For Moving

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

One of the main purposes of smartphone applications is to help us organize and streamline our lives.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of apps out there to assist with the moving process.  From help with packing and to-do checklists to decorating a new home and getting to know a different neighborhood, these applications can assist in every aspect of your relocation -- whether across town or across the county.

Here are 5 moving apps that will help you get and stay organized, so that the process can be as stress-free as possible.

Moving List (iPhone, $2.99)

This handy dandy application comes with 95 already developed list task items that you can edit or add to based on your specific moving needs.  All items can be organized by categories or due date.  Categories include DIY, friends & family, goodbyes, job relocation, movers, new address, packing, transport, and other.

Moving Van (iPhone, $1.99)

This app proves useful when packing and unpacking. It allows you to track, and even take pictures of, all the items you put in a box.  Think this sounds like too much work?  Just imagine how thankful you’ll be that you took the time to use this app when you’re looking for little Johnny’s nightlight on your first night in the new house and don’t have to go through 10 boxes to find it.  Another bonus?  Moving Van also has the capability to export your inventory list as either a PDF or as text in the body of an email. Sleep easy knowing where all your junk is! 

My Move (iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire)

Need a reliable moving company to assist you in your relocation, but don’t know where to start?  My Move is an app that help you search for licensed contractors by location and read reviews by other customers. There is also a free quote feature that makes this application stand out.

Moving Day (iPhone, free)

The Moving Day App is specifically designed to get you through the big day.  It has built in barcode scanning and label making functions, which allows you to create barcodes on your phone, print them out, and attach them to boxes. Then, once you’ve arrived at your new residence, you scan the boxes to make sure everything has arrived AND to see what is in each box without actually opening it.  Genius, I tell you!

Home Inspection Checklist (Android, free)

While I firmly believe that nothing can replace the know-how of an experienced, certified, professional inspector, I recommend using this app to call problem areas to the inspector’s attention beforehand.  These checklists include all aspects of a home from interior and exterior structural details, to electrical and plumbing.  Show that licensed professional that you’re prepared for his/her inspection and that you care a great deal about their findings!

Applications such as these can save you time, money, and stress that often comes with a move.  Do yourself a favor and simplify the already complex process by downloading these apps or ones like it!  Like I always smarter, not harder!

Now, if only someone could come up with an app that could pack and unpack all those boxes, we’d be set!

Tips For Moving With Children

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

It’s official!  You’re moving!  Now, pack those boxes, grab the fam, and get outta town.  Piece of cake, right?

Wrong!  We only wish it was that easy!  Moving is complicated for EVERYONE, but when there are children involved, not only are you dealing with logistics, you’re dealing with emotions. And quite frankly, is there anything more important than the emotional well-being of the little ones in our lives?!?  We don’t think so!

And that’s why we took it upon ourselves to compile a list of our top Tips For Moving With Kids.  These strategies are sure to help you buffer those emotions, create a smooth transition, and make your relocation an adventure to celebrate.

1.  Have a family meeting.  Make this an open forum and explain why you’ve made the decision to move.  Share about why you’re excited for this new adventure and how it will be good for your family.  Prepare children for what to expect and let them know that you’re counting on them for their help and input as you move forward with the process.  Let them know that you value their opinion and give kids the opportunity to express their questions and concerns.

2.  House hunt as a family.  If logistics allow, take your children with you when you tour potential homes and if the search is primarily happening online, be sure to bookmark your favorites for their input. 

3.  Give them some say in their room.  Whether it be paint colors, furniture arrangement, or artwork on the wall, kids enjoy any control you’re willing to give them. 

4.  Time your move (if possible).  If circumstances are such that you are able to time your move according to YOUR schedule, try to plan it for a relatively “quiet” time of year.  Maybe when the children are out of school?  Or after any other major life events (vacations, potty training, etc.) have taken place.

5.  Tour the new location.  Become familiar with your new town or city.  Keep a list of places you want to go, restaurants to try, parks to visit, etc.  This will help to build and maintain excitement for your children.

6.  Have them help you pack & purge.  Children who are old enough should be encouraged to help you pack.  Give them a say in what gets packed and what doesn’t.  Make them a part of the process.

7.  Throw a Going Away Party.  Give kids the chance to say goodbye to friends, family, and neighbors in a FUN and meaningful way!  Host a party that they won’t soon forget.  Besides, who doesn’t love a good celebration?!?

8.  Say goodbye in a special way.  Whether it’s a special dinner where you share your favorite memories, or a custom book of photos from the house, doing something worthy of remembering.

9.  Make the new place feel like home.  Without feeling rushed to unpack, be sure to make it a priority to hang and set out some of your children’s favorite items.  Familiar thing will help make the house feel like home -- for both you AND the kids.

10.  Celebrate!  Once you’re moved into the new home, be sure to make it an occasion!  Let your kids pick a special restaurant or activity to celebrate their role in your move AND to toast the beginning of new adventures!  

Our take on the recent article from MSN: What $300,000 can get you in the metro!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Earlier this week MSN Real Estate published {this} article on what type of home $300,000 can get you across the country.  So, we thought it would be fun to do a little comparison of our own!  Ever wonder what approximately $300,000 can get you around here?  Well, wonder no more!  Here are just a few homes that are or have been listed in this price range.  Take a look, then be sure to compare them to the article.  We think the Des Moines metro is the place to be when you want to get a lot of home for your dollar!

1.  814 NE Lakeview, Ankeny, Iowa -- $315,000

3,700 square feet of living space, 5 bedrooms & 4 bathroom areas, den, formal dining room, huge lower level family room with walk out to 1/3 acre yard. Wonderful view of Fountain View lake & recreation trail. New carpet throughout & fresh paint upper & lower levels, refinished hardwood floors. Central Vac, Children's play set and invisible fence(need collars) included. Easy access to I-35.

2.  3419 NW Rockridge, Ankeny, Iowa -- $319,900

Unique, warm and charming one of a kind walkout Ranch. 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath with distinctive craftsmanship throughout. Inviting foyer greets with dramatic Red Birch flooring, 9 ft ceilings, double closets & window seat, leading into a 32' living & entertaining area. Kitchen boasts cherry stained maple cabinetry, black granite counters, SS appliances, roll-out drawers & 3 way breakfast bar. The 16' dining area w/slider to 14' elevated deck overlooks the living room & fireplace with quality built-in bookcase, mantle & woodwork. Master bedroom suite with jet tub, double raised vanity, 9' walk-in closet & shower. Laundry situated next to MBR. A 2nd BR is in front wing off entry with full bath. Finished walkout lower level has 28' family room, slider to patio & yard & stunning 16' wall of fireplace, maple-cherry handcrafted bookcases, mantle & cabinets, two Lower Level bedrooms, a full bath & large storage utility area. Upgrades & Character throughout this home.

3. 7534 NE Berwick, Ankeny, Iowa -- $375,000

Over an acre wooded lot, wildlife galore!! Huge 2 season porch & life time decking, 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 baths, walk out lower lever with wet bar, full bath & bedroom, vaulted great room with huge windows for natural lighting, main floor master suite & full bath with jet tub and shower, double vanities, formal dining room or den with French doors, main floor mud/ laundry room with 1/2 bath, upper level with 2 bedrooms, full bath and spacious loft area over looking great room, 3 car garage, whole house intercom system & central vac.

4. 5722 SE 24th, Des Moines, Iowa -- $284,900

Unique 6BR 4BA 3852sf finished home on cul-de-sac on half acre lot! HUGE kitchen w/cherry cabinets, SS appliances, corian counters, tile floor, and eat-in area. Dining area w/oak hardwood floor and 2 story ceiling! Mudroom/Laundry off garage. Great Room features a fireplace, surround sound, and lots of windows! Rounding off the main floor are two bedrooms, full bath, and half bath. The 3-car garage is extra wide with an extra 9X10 storage room/workshop. 2nd Floor: Lovely master suite w/vaulted ceiling, walk-in closet, and HUGE bathroom w/dual sinks, toilet room, tiled shower, and lots of beautiful cabinetry. 2nd big bedroom and bonus loft area complete the upstairs. Finished basement has 2 bedrooms (one currently a home gym), family room, new carpet, and full bath. Energy efficient home w/tri-zone heating/cooling (2 furnaces/2 AC's w/separate controls). Backyard: 39X13 stone patio overlooking the expansive fenced yard, 12X10 shed.

5. 2002 NE Bel Aire, Ankeny, Iowa -- $259,900

Beautifully updated 5-bedroom ranch home in the popular Briarwood South area of Ankeny. Conveniently located near schools, parks, restaurants, and shopping. Tons of space for your family with 1776sf of finish on the main level and 1666sf of finish in the lower level per seller. The spacious kitchen has granite, lovely backsplash, stainless steel appliances, and updated nickel fixtures throughout. French doors lead to the bright 4-season sun room off the kitchen. This home has TWO gas fireplaces! Wood floor in the kitchen. New carpet and paint throughout the home. Spacious master suite w/walk-in closet and large bathroom area - dual sinks and gorgeous tiled shower. Main floor laundry. Finished lower level has two more bedrooms with egress windows, wetbar, large full bathroom, and HUGE family room! Other ammenities: fenced yard, wired for surround sound in basement, irrigation system, vaulted cilings on main floor, covered deck, high efficiency furnace/AC, updated landscaping.

32nd Annual Santa's North Pole Village!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the holidays less than 2 months away, now is the time to start that sh-sh-sh-shopping. But fear not, friends! Ankeny plays host to a HUGE annual event that makes the gift getting easy.  That’s right -- EASY!  With over 300 vendors, the Santa’s North Pole Village Craft Show is sure to have something for everyone. Even those hard to buy for people in your life!

The 32nd Santa’s North Pole Village is taking place this Saturday, November 2, 2013, so get it on your calendars and make plans now!  With between 5,000-10,000 visitors expected annually, this Ankeny Art Center fundraiser, is one of Iowa’s largest craft shows.  And, of course, that many visitors calls for multiple locations!  This year’s event will be held at Northview Middle School, Parkview Middle School, and Prairie Ridge Middle School.  Bonus: there is a shuttle service available for transportation from site to site!



From fine art crafters and “junkers,” to jewelry, candle makers, and more this is an event you do NOT want to miss!  So, here’s what you need to know:

32nd Annual Santa's North Pole Village Craft Show

Saturday, November 2, 2013.    Hours: 9am-4pm

Admission: $5.  Shuttle bus available.

Three locations: Northview  Middle School, Prairie Ridge Middle School and Parkview Middle School.

Cafeteria opens at 8 am and will feature an array of food vendors.

Q & A with an Ankeny Educator: Meet Mr. Ruff

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

We're back this week with another edition of an Ankeny teacher get-to-know-you session.  At Ankeny Real Estate Service, we feel strongly that without awesome TEACHERS, our school district can NOT produce amazing, intelligent, and well-rounded students! Nothing makes us more proud than a true professional dedicated to our students AND this community!

And with that...let us introduce you to Mr. Ruff!

Name: Aaron Ruff    


Position: Physical Education at Prairie Ridge Middle School


Number of years in education:8


Years taught in Ankeny:5


Hobbies: Coaching, Reading, Cheering for the Cyclones, Bears and Cubs


What is the best thing about teaching in Ankeny?

Teaching in Ankeny is a privilege. The students, families, teachers and administrators are a joy to work with. Above all else the best thing about working in the Ankeny Community School District is the mindset that whatever is best for the students is what will be done.


What gets you excited about the direction that Ankeny schools are heading?

As we keep growing as a community our schools keep up and are always doing good work, work that is best for the students of the community. 


What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Balancing the time in all the extra-curricular activities that I am involved in with Ankeny Community School District. 


How would your students describe you?

Fun, Fair and Nice


What motivates you?

Seeing students and athletes achieve beyond what they thought they could do.


What is typically the best part of your day?

 Working with kids and seeing kids achieve their personal goals. 

Trending: Mudrooms (Make Your Own!)

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

No matter how big or small your home or family are, we can all agree that a designated place to drop our “stuff” when we walk in the door is ideal for the sake of ease and organization in today’s society.  And while a dedicated, actual mudrooms in every home would be nice, it isn’t a reality.  Although, mudrooms are certainly a trend on the rise.  So, what do you do if your home’s layout doesn’t exactly leave room for such a space?  Well, you get creative!  Use what you have and make the most of your space!  Think outside the box and utilize hooks, shelves, storage bins, and any extra wall space to create your makeshift mudroom.  Solve shoe storage issues, get the bursting with artwork backpacks up off the floor, and hang your coats for every season on hooks assigned to each family member.  Take it from us -- no matter how big or small your space, your clutter issues can be solved.  Check out these inspirational areas of order: 









Meet Your Ankeny Real Estate Service Agent, Bob Cazavilan

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

We caught up with agent Bob Cazavilan and asked him to share a little about himself and his background.  Here's what he had to say!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself…

A:  "Ultimately I’m a teacher...  I taught high school mathematics in Massachusetts after graduating with a BA degree in Philosophy in 1969.   I also taught real estate courses in MA.  Since then, for the past 30 years, I’ve been teaching clients how to work through the details of buying & selling homes.  There’s quite a bit more data that I become aware of, & information I discover,  when I’m looking at a home than what most people see.  I’ll point things out to a client that might not be so obvious.  My role is to keep my clients informed giving them all the pertinent information to consistently make the right decisions.   This is true whether representing a buyer or seller.

Another part of my job is anticipating difficulties & working them out ahead of time.  With the complexities of any transaction, knowing what’s coming, & having worked out similar details beforehand is crucial to a successful transaction.  Buying & selling a home can be a stressful time for even the most prepared people.   Knowing that someone experienced & knowledgeable is legally working in your own best interests, who can work out & explain the details, gives a great sense of peace & accomplishment to the people I represent. 

Integrity, clear communication & flexibility are traits I’ve pursued & developed over the past 30 years…

I also drove cab in Boston for a while…. & milked cows in New Hampshire, lived on a boat in the Virgin Islands & started Bless This House Real Estate in 1994.

Starting in the early 1980’s, when interest rates were over 17%, I showed & sold my first home by crawling in a cellar window to open the door for the waiting buyers.  Two years after first getting my Agents license I secured my Brokers license & opened Cazavilan Real Estate, Inc. renting a space over the Christian bookstore in Springfield, MA.  I ran Caz R.E. for 12 years until I came to Iowa in 1992."

Talk about a well-rounded guy! Does Bob sound like just the person you want representing you on your next transaction?  If so, give Bob a call at 515.669.5123!

Trending: Home Theater Systems

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

These days it isn’t uncommon for our prospective buyers to be as concerned about home technology as they are about floor plans, location, and mortgage payments. Many even have “media room” on their list of prospective home must-haves…or at the very least, a space to create one!

As home-theater prices lower and technology advances, the idea of a “media room” has slowly evolved from a luxury to a near necessity for many.  Think about it…it is a place your family can congregate, laugh, and be entertained.  Next to the kitchen and family rooms, a home theater room practically demands to be occupied.  And when it comes to entertaining?  Nothing says “fun” like a shiny new flat screen and impressive components. 

According to a recent survey performed by the Consumer Electronics Association of real estate agents, home-theater systems and other home management systems are selling at a faster rate than they ever have before.

Be it big or small, we think it is rooms like these that are motivating our buyers to add that much-loved home-theater space to their “prospective home must-have” list.

Q & A with an Ankeny Educator: Meet Ms. Varnum

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

We're back this week with another edition of an Ankeny teacher get-to-know-you session.  At Ankeny Real Estate Service, we feel strongly that without awesome TEACHERS, our school district can NOT produce amazing, intelligent, and well-rounded students! Nothing makes us more proud than a true professional dedicated to our students AND this community!

And with that...let us introduce you to Ms. Michelle Varnum!

Name: Michelle Varnum

Position: 2nd Grade teacher at Terrace Elementary

Number of years in education: 3 years

Years taught in Ankeny: 2 years


Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, playing with my puppy, running, Cyclone football and basketball games


What is the best thing about teaching in Ankeny?

As an Ankeny High School graduate, I feel so fortunate to be teaching in the district I grew up in. Ankeny is a wonderful community filled with delightful families and students. Ankeny Community School District is very supportive of its teachers; the opportunities that I am offered as an educator for learning and growth are endless.


What gets you excited about the direction that Ankeny schools are heading?

Although it was difficult to see happen as an Ankeny graduate, I am excited to watch the community continue to grow and develop with two high schools. No matter the high school, Ankeny Community School District as a whole is unified in its commitment to prepare all learners to achieve a lifetime of personal success.


What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

As most people feel, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. The most challenging aspect is to balance planning meaningful lesson plans, implement the lesson plans, and then respond to what students need based on what was taught.


How would your students describe you?

I hope my students would describe me as a role-model who is determined, hard-working, and likes to have fun while learning.


What motivates you?

When I see my students succeed or experience the ‘light-bulb’ moment, my heart beams with pride for them. It is such a rewarding feeling to see that the work I am doing is providing my students with knowledge and achievement.


What is typically the best part of your day?

I love greeting each of my students at the door in the morning and high fiving each of my students on the way out the door at the end of the day. Although it’s quick, the one-on-one interaction with each student is so valuable to form solid student-teacher relationships.

Fall Fun: Our Favorite Pumpkin Patches From Around The Metro

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Around here nothing says “fall is upon us” like a festive trip to the good ol’ pumpkin patch and apple orchard.  Lucky for us, the Des Moines metro offers plenty of selection when it comes to fun fall outings! But don’t take our word for it!  Be sure to check out a few of our faves.

1. Center Grove Orchard


We’re sure you’ll gather as many happy memories as apples. Enjoy daily hayrides, corn pool, corn maze and hay maze, farm animals, pedal tractors, weekend festivals with live entertainment, and so much more. Don’t forget the jumping pillow, rubber duck races, Three Little Pigs houses, and apple sling shot. Center Grove has the best (and only) Potty Barn anywhere in the Des Moines and Ames area! Of course, you can pick your own apples and find your perfect pumpkin.  Come hungry to enjoy all the tastes of the season such as farm fresh meals & caramel apples! Open: September through Christmas, on Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. Directions: Just north of Ankeny and south of Ames, 5 miles east of I-35 on Highway 210 (Exit 102, Cambridge). Then, north 1/8 mile on 610th Avenue. Come be part of the lively atmosphere of our beautiful Central Iowa farm! Enjoy daily hayrides, corn maze, farm animals, pedal tractors, weekend festivals with live entertainment and so much more.

2.  Uncle Bill’s Farm & Carroll’s Pumpkin Patch 


In September and October, you can look forward to picking pumpkins in the Pumpkin Patch, meandering through the Corn Maze, browsing the General Store, shopping the Green House, jumping on the Big Orange Pillow, enjoying Uncle Bill's Funny Goats, riding the Kid Kow Train, riding in the TMX Trikes, wheeling around the Wheel Barrow Course, playing in the Corn Bin, and refueling at Uncle Bill's Feed Bag restaurant. On weekends you can watch exciting Barn Loft entertainers, learn from baking demonstrations, shoot the Corn Cannon, see the Medieval Trebuchet (pumpkin catapult) in action and much more!

3.  Geisler Farms


Navigate your way through their 10-acre corn maze, featuring the Ankeny High School logos. The fun zone includes swings, a tractor tire swing, rubber duck races, patio maze, table maze, pedal karts, trikesfor tykes, hop-a-long ponies, corn bin and corn hole toss game. Geisler Farms features a one-of-a-kind farmer built ADA-accessible hayrack. Groups of 10 or more corn maze customers may reserve space at one of three firepits. Pumpkins, gourds, corn shocks and straw are also available for purchase.

Inside the Red Shed is admission to the corn maze and fun zone. This is where you will also find ADA-accessible restrooms, concessions, Iowa-made soy candles, homemade jams and frozen Emma Krumbee take and bake pies and apple crisp.

The Geisler pumpkin patch is conveniently located next to the parking lot on the west side of the Red Shed. There is no admission charged to visit the pumpkins.

4. Howell’s Pumpkin Patch


Howell's Pumpkin Patch offers fun and interesting sights and activities for the whole family, whether it be racing through the Pumpkin Patch to find the perfect pumpkins, or strolling the beautiful rolling 15 acres of flowers and touring the upper floor of the 1910 Barn, where the flowers are dried for Howell's Dried Florals. From a Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze to the Kiddie Koral and fun food and shopping, this fall attraction located in Cummings is well worth the quick 25 minute drive from Des Moines.

5. Williamson’s Pumpkin Paradise


The Williamson Family Orchard is a family-owned orchard that was established in 1992.  Located in the rolling hills of Adel, Iowa this orchard is the perfect day trip.  There are many varieties of apples including Enterprise, Freedom, GoldRush, Liberty, Pristine, Jonafree, Redfree, and Williams Pride. We also offer apple butter, apple pie, honey and many other delicious products.  Seasonal and specialty products are available in the Williamson store.

The U-pick pumpkin patch has become an important part of the Williamson farm.  This is where they grow the pumpkins and they can actually be cut off the vine. The on-farm store is open seasonally from the first weekend after Labor Day through October.

Displaying blog entries 161-170 of 179