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Trending: Covered Decks

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Move over boring, outdoor spaces of old – the covered deck trend is here and homeowners everywhere are transforming their patios and decks to actual livable, functional spaces for entertaining and relaxation! Here in Iowa, covering an outdoor area, gives homeowners the ability to their space during 3 out of our 4 seasons! Think about it: What could you do with one more {usable!} room?!? Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite covered decks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So, are you ready to hop on this covered deck trend bandwagon? We predict that it isn’t going anywhere soon, so embrace it! 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Newer Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Our Great Debate continues: Is it better to buy a newer or older home? A few weeks ago we discussed location, character, and price, in our blog highlighting the pros and cons of buying an older home. THIS week, it’s time to talk about the lower maintenance, often times more costly, approach of buying a newer home! As with anything, there are pros and cons to purchasing new, as well -- let’s see, shall we?!? Here are a few benefits of a brand-new home that you may not see in the sales brochure.

 

 

Pro: Customization and adding your personal touch. Homebuyers lucky enough to get in on the building process before it is complete, often get the option to participate in the process of designing/customizing. From floor and counter choices, to outlet placement and paint colors, new homes give you the ability to add a personal touch and make your NEW home your own.

 

Con: Newer homes can cost up to 20% more than their existing, older counterparts! And all of those customization and upgrades can end up costing more than you ever intended.

 

Pro: Most new homes include design elements that today’s lifestyle demands: big kitchens, open floor plans, walk-in closets, an abundance of outlets, and master suites.

 

Con: Inconvenient locations. These days homes are being built away from schools and shopping. Another downer? If your new home is one of the first in its neighborhood, you could potentially be living among construction until nearby homes are complete.

 

Pro: It’s common sense: newer homes = less maintenance. And less maintenance means financial benefit. Plus? New homes often come with warranties for any issues that may arise.

 

Con: Generally, just built homes have less architectural detail and charm.

 

Pro: New homes are built with better materials, making them more energy efficient, resulting in lower utility bills.

 

Con: New neighborhoods and homes are built on smaller lots, leaving owners less privacy and not as much room to “play.”

 

Pro: New homes = new neighborhoods = new community. Moving into an established neighborhood sometimes means joining neighbors in different life stages and with already established relationships.

 

Con: All you fixer-upper types will NOT appreciate the move-in ready, no upkeep necessary nature of new homes, thus, they may not be for you.

 

While it may seem like new construction is the perfect choice, there are lots of lifestyle factors to consider first.  After all, you’re not just buying a house – you’re buying a home and a neighborhood!

At-Home Tailgating for the BIG Game!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Saturday is THE BIG GAME here in the great state of I-O-W-A. 

 

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Iowa v. Iowa State. Hawks v. Cyclones. Black and gold v. cardinal and gold. Friends v. friends. Neighbor v. neighbor. 

 

On game day, fans from across the state will be tailgating in preparation for the match-up.  And while, the lucky (or unlucky??) fans will be celebrating in Iowa City, the majority of us will be tailgating from the comfort of our homes.  We want to help you make the most of your at-home celebration!  Aside from hosting our own, sharing tips for your tailgate is the next best thing.  So, let’s get started! 

 

We believe that hosting an at-home-tailgate, starts with focus on the 4 F’s: Friends. Fans. Fun. Food (duh!).

 

Friends. Invite them. Family, neighbors, co-workers, college buddies, and childhood pals -- anyone that enjoys a little healthy competition AND has even an ounce of team spirit.  After all, what’s a party without people?

 

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Fans. Encourage your guests to support their team in any way possible.  This means team apparel, face painting, car decorating, and flags.  When it comes to showing your support, we firmly believe that there’s no such thing as going overboard!  And don’t forget to decorate.  Use your team colors and do it up right!

 

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Fun. Not everyone will be glued to the television for each play of the game, and even those who are, will need something to keep them entertained during halftime.  From cornhole and ladders, to a pick-up game of backyard ball or fantasy football trivia, have a little something for everyone. Look at it this way -- at least one team’s fans will need the distraction.

 

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Food (& drinks!). While this one might be a no-brainer, it is {in our opinion} the most important part of your tailgate get-together! You must feed your team! But we suggest keeping it simple! Win over your guests by combining appetizers and desserts with grill favorites.  Asking your guests to bring some grub to share ensures that there will be something for everyone AND it makes the meal planning that much easier.  It is also a good idea to be mindful of the weather -- no one wants to be sipping on hot soup on a 90 degree day.  Likewise, soups, hot chocolate, cider, and baked potatoes are all good ideas for tailgating in frigid temps. No matter the weather, be sure to plan ahead and keep it simple.  When it’s up to you to tackle the task of game day food, the last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around the kitchen at the time of kick off.

 


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Besides being a good excuse for a party, tailgating is a great way to bond with your friends and enjoy the game together. These four tips can help you throw a pre-game party that will be the next best thing to being there in person.  And, take it from us, being prepared, is the best way to ensure that all fans have fun, regardless of the outcome of the game.

 

Best of luck to both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones.  We are proud to live in a state with such a rich, albeit competitive, football history. 

 

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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!

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4