Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 171-177 of 177

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.

Q & A with Ankeny Real Estate Service Agent Becky Mock

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I grew up in Ankeny, so I know this town well.  I enjoy Ankeny so much that I raised my own kids here. 

Q: How and when did you get into real estate?

A: Real Estate was something I had always wanted to do, so I finally went for it about 4 ½ yrs ago.  It’s been great! 

Q: What is the best part about your job?

A: I really enjoy meeting all kinds of people and helping them to make one of the biggest decisions they’ll probably make.

Q: What motivates you?

A: I enjoy what I do and helping others fulfill their dreams!

Q: What is the most frequently asked question for you as a realtor?

A: How’s the market right now?

Q: If you had an extra hour every day what would you do with it?

A: Spend time with family.

Q: Do you have someone that you consider a mentor?

A: Steve Hidder, owner/broker at Ankeny Real Estate Service, has taught me so much since I’ve been with his company.

Q: What is one thing you learned from your father?

A: Always do your best….don’t do anything halfway.

Q: Your mother?

A: How to nurture my family.

Q: What is something you want people to know about your profession?

A: Being a Realtor involves MUCH more than just driving buyers around to look at homes or to just put a sign in the yard of a seller.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: I’ll still be a Realtor helping others’ dreams come true! 

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.

Preparing Your Home For Fall

by Ankeny Real Estate Service


As we start to say goodbye to summer, it is also time to say hello to all things fall!  Cooler temps, college football, apple orchards, pumpkin spice lattes, AND fall home maintenance.  Considering the minimal time investment and ease of the projects listed below, I’d say that our 5 steps for Preparing Your Home For Fall are well worth your efforts before the cooler weather is here to stay!

1. Clean out the gutters.

It is the job of your roof’s drainage system to shunt rainwater and debris away from your home’s foundation and exterior. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to keep this system draining smoothly. Clogged gutters can lead to costly damage and a little fall-time forethought can ensure peace of mind and a well-functioning drainage system.  Take the time to remove leaves and other debris from drain pipes and gutters in an effort to prevent clogging.  This is also a wise time to invest in gutter mesh guards to prevent future accumulation. 

2. Turn up the heat!

Start with making an appointment for an annual heating system check-up.  It is extremely important that your heating system is working correctly and safely! Be sure to take the time to make sure all of your heating vents are free of furniture, carpet, or curtains. This is also the time of year to replace your heater filters and continue to do so as the cool temperatures continue.

3. Freshen up the fireplace!

Even if your fireplace isn’t used on a regular basis, you should still always inspect it annually for damage or hazards. Be sure to look for flue blockages (no one wants burning birds!), chimney damage (loose or broken joints on a brick fireplace), and don’t forget to clear out ash and charred wood.  OR, if you’re like me, save yourself the trouble and call in a professional! But don’t forget to remind your chimney cleaner to check the damper for a tight close.

4. Check for drafts!

Seal Cracks and gaps around windows and doors with caulk and weather-stripping.  This is an extremely cost-effective way to keep those heating bills in check.

5. Remove and store air conditioners.

Any window air conditioners should be unplugged and removed during the cooler seasons.  Go the extra mile and dust and clean them before covering and storing.  You’ll thank yourself in the springtime!

Back To School: Featured Listings Near Ankeny Schools

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

It’s back to school time in Ankeny!  And while our students are busy catching busses, wandering halls, and finding classrooms, Ankeny Real Estate Service has YOU, the potential buyer, in mind.  We want to help you find what you’ve been searching for.  Ankeny Real Estate Service proudly represents many wonderful clients, with awesome homes for sale, near lots of fantastic schools. It is for this reason that, in honor of Ankeny’s first day back to school, we would like to share just a couple of our listings, located within a reasonable walking distance of a few of Ankeny’s top-notch schools!

1. 820 NW 20th St., Ankeny

This is a beautiful quality-built ranch townhome, located near 3 (!!) schools - Ashland Ridge Elementary, Northview Middle School, and Prairie Ridge Middle School! This open floor plan features a kitchen with staggered maple cabinets, tile, large eat-in area, pantry, and breakfast bar. The large great room with stone fireplace is cozy. Laundry/mud room (with washroom sink) are on the main floor just beside the garage. The master suite has a separate door to the covered deck, dual vanity, whirlpool tub, shower, and large walk-in closet. Other amenities: central vac, established landscaping, and irrigation system. Monthly dues also covers snow removal. Lower level is very bright with natural light from the daylight windows and is ready for you to finish to your preference.

2. 3009 SW White Birch, Ankeny

Great location near Crocker Elementary.  Like New... Immense 30' Front to Back Open Plan & 9' Ceilings, Lots of Light 19' Living Rm with laminate Flooring (2011) & Fireplace, 16' Kitchen & Dining with 8' Breakfast Bar & Slider to 23' shaded Back Deck, 1st Fl. Tile Laundry & 1/2 Bath, 2nd floor, Cathedral MBR with Full Bath & 8' Wlk-in Closet 2 other Bedrooms & 2nd Full Bath. ALL NEW FRIEZE CARPETING. ALL APPLIANCES INCLUDED: Washer, Dryer, Glass Top Stove, Refrigerator, Microwave, DW & TV in MBR. 22' Two Car under Garage accessed from back of T-Home. High-E Furnace, AC & HWH. Move in Ready!!!! Priced to Sell.

3. 2610 NW 17th St., Ankeny

Within walking distance of Westwood Elementary, this home has a finished lower level (approx 675 sq ft.) and daylight windows.   Main level with family room kitchen with closet pantry, front "Bonus Room" could be den, formal dinning or living room, 1/2 bath. Upper level with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, large master suite with walk in closet. Beautiful landscaping with many varieties of trees, bushes & flowers, also a shed. New shingles & gutters and several windows 7/2013.

4. 814 NE Lake View, Ankeny

Located very near Northeast Elementary, this home has 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.

5. 106 SW Kline, Ankeny

This unique home with abundant living space is located just blocks from Northwest Elementary.  Main level features 1,152 sq ft of open floor plan, plus additional 212 sq ft enclosed porch with fire place, could easily be year round living space. Large wrap around deck with sliders and French door from MBR to deck overlooking nicely landscaped fenced rear yard. Lower level with additional 300 sq ft of living space, also includes battery back up sump. Roofing & front window recently replaced. Attached garage is 16' W X 22' D with double wide driveway for plenty of off street parking.

Although this list is far from all-inclusive, we think it speaks to the fact that, if you are looking for a home near a school, we have plenty to offer!  And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, close to your desired school, we can help!  Let us do the “dirty work” and find you the home in the perfect location for you (and your students!). Give us a call today 515-964-3662!

Displaying blog entries 171-177 of 177