Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 191-200 of 203

Movies Under The Stars: Free Family Fun in Ankeny!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re huge fans of all the free fun that Ankeny has to offer.  And now that our sunshine-y summer weather has finally arrived, the fun is in full force! Topping the list of our favorite free family events in town is Movies Under The Stars presented by Veridian Credit Union.

A free event open to the public, Movies Under The Stars, gives our community a place to come together on Friday nights, take in a show, and relax under the warm summer sky.  Movie-goers are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, bug spray, snacks, and lots of excitement for, what is sure to be, an enjoyable evening. Movies Under The Stars takes place at Wagner Park Bandshell, is free to attend (have we mentioned that?!?), and begins at dusk.

So, what fabulous flicks can you expect to see?  Here’s the line-up for the rest of this season.

June 14 - Shark Tale (PG)

June 21 - Cool Runnings (PG)

June 28 - Little Big League (PG)

July 19 - Spy Kids 1 (PG)

July 26 - Beethoven (PG)

August 2 - HOP (PG)

From the Uptown Farmer’s Market and Ankeny Unplugged, to Movies Under The Stars, this city offers fantastic options for free family fun.  Check out Ankeny’s website for more ideas and information on all the fun to be had!  http://www.ankenyiowa.gov/

Keeping Your Home Safe While On Vacation

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Tis the season for getaways and summer vacations.  What do you have planned?  Maybe it’s a weekend adventure to a neighboring state or a 2-week-long holiday overseas.  No matter the kind of trip that awaits you, we want to help you maintain safety of the home you’re leaving behind!  Here are some tips to keep your home safe while you’re away enjoying a stress-free vacation!

● Lock all doors and windows.  Duh.  But seriously.  It’s worth double checking.

● Enlist the help of trustworthy friends or neighbors to “watch” your house while you’re gone.  Leave them a key, your emergency contact information, and specific instructions on your expectations for them.  Of note, we highly recommend the persuasive technique of bribery with food.  The promise of a free meal or yummy cupcakes is a commonly recognized form of reimbursement!

● If you don’t have them already, it is a wise idea to invest in timers for both interior and exterior lights.  At night, a well lit home can deter would-be thieves, while keeping lights on during the day is unnecessary and wasteful.  Timers are a simple solution for making an unoccupied home look lived in even while you’re away.

● Make arrangements for your yard work to be done if you are planning on vacationing for a long period of time.  If your lawns is always trimmed and perfectly manicured, then long grass can be a sign for potential burglars that you aren’t home. 

● Avoid social media.  Today’s society thrives on the use of social media and, all too often, vast amounts of “over-sharing” are happening on places like Facebook and Twitter -- especially when it comes to posting vacation plans, updates, and pictures.  Thieves are smart and will often rely on social media to tell them when you are away from home.  Be mindful of the information you’re giving and pictures you’re posting.  And, at the very least, change your social media privacy settings so that only your most trusted friends and family can see what you’re up to (at least until you’ve returned from your vacay!).

● Prevent power surges and potential fires by unplugging computers, TVs, stereos, coffee makers, toaster ovens, and other electronics -- or ensure that they are plugged into surge protectors.

● Alert the alarm company.  This may seem like another no-brainer, but it can often be forgotten.  If you have an alarm system in place, take the time to notify the company of your plans AND if you will be having friends or family check on your house.  Likewise, your “house watcher” should also be briefed on the ins-and-outs of your alarm system.

● Nothing says “I’m away on vacation, please burglarize my house” like a pile of newpapers on the front step or an overflowing mailbox.  Place a “stop” order on mail and newspaper deliveries or enlist the help of a trustworthy neighbor to pick them up daily. The USPS will hold your mail for up to 30 days, as a free courtesy.  This can be done in person or online https://holdmail.usps.com/duns/HoldMail.jsp.

● Secure valuables in a safety deposit box.  Say all of your preventative measures fail and an intruder happens to make his or her way into your home?  Well, then, ensure that you’re not leaving them anything of great monetary or personal value!  Take the time before your vacation to deposit jewelry, essential documents, and other important belongings into a safety deposit box.

At Ankeny Real Estate Service, not only are we in the business of buying and selling homes, but it is also our greatest desire to help you enjoy your home and life (vacations, included!) to the fullest.  It’s no secret that eliminating simple worries such as the safety of your home while away can greatly decrease stress AND increase your happiness.  So, what do you say?  Get out there and enjoy your summer!  Hit the road...but not until you secure the safety of the home you’re leaving behind.

 

Ankeny Unplugged

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Mark your calendars now!  Ankeny Unplugged starts this Saturday and runs throughout the month of June.  Take it from me, Ankeny area residents, this is an event you DON’T want to miss!

Featuring hot local and regional musical acts, Ankeny Unplugged offers a unique opportunity for friends and neighbors to come together.  This one-of-a-kind music fest has thought of it all -- good music, delicious food vendors, unique arts and crafts, refreshing beverages, sweet confections, a free bicycle valet, and more!

So, what more do you need to know?  Here are a few more details:

● This year’s concert series will take place the first four Saturdays in June at the Bandshell at Wagner Park (410 West First Street).

● Doors open at 4pm and bands take the stage from 5 to 9pm.

● Tickets are $3 at the door OR you can purchase an advance ticket and drink for $6 {here}.  Kids 12 and under are free.

● Ankeny Unplugged is organized by the Ankeny Jaycees, and sponsored by The City of Ankeny.

● This year’s musical lineup can be found at the event’s website (http://ankenyunplugged.com/) and is going to be rocking! 

On a personal note, I recommend dressing in layers, bringing bag chairs and/or blankets, and leaving your own food, drinks, and cigarettes at home!

Now that you know the details, have time to otherwise clear your calendar, AND have been enticed by the promise of awesome entertainment, good food, and a fun time with friends, you have no excuse to miss what is sure to be a great time!

Moving Tips and Tricks

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Don't Miss It: The Uptown Ankeny Farmers' Market begins THIS Saturday

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you’re like me, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been not-so-patiently waiting for opening day of the Ankeny Farmers’ Market.  Well, good news -- it is FINALLY here!  The Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market kicks off this Saturday, May 19 and, rumor has it, this year will be even better than the last!

The Uptown Ankeny Farmers' Market features homemade, homegrown, hand-crafted products and in-season produce. Not only is this open-air market known for the freshest locally grown produce, but each week boasts a variety of offerings. On any given Saturday, you can find meats, baked goods, cut flowers, starter veggie plants, and hanging baskets, along with prepared food vendors, local artists, and entertainers.  When it comes to vendors, no two weeks are the same -- which seems like the perfect excuse to never miss one!

So, what makes the Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market unique?  Well, according to regular attendee, Kelly Munter (34, Ankeny), the small-town feel just can’t be beat!  “We love stocking up on our fruits, veggies, and bread for the week without fighting large crowds.  Not to mention, supporting local farmers, the Ankeny community, and our economy is of the utmost importance to us!” 

Well, when you put it like that, the Uptown Ankeny Farmers’ Market sure sounds like a place we would all want to be!  

Where:

Uptown Ankeny

Corner of SW 3rd & SW Maple Street

Ankeny, IA 50021

When:

(May-September)

Saturdays May 18 thur Sept. 28

8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Closed July 13

For more information visit www.uptownankeny.org

8 Things To Do In Ankeny This Spring

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

8 Things To Do In Ankeny This Spring

1.  Visit any of our MANY different parks.  Check out {this} matrix and {this} Park Locator Map to, not only find one near you, but to find a park that meets your needs!  Want a park with a picnic shelter and grill?  We have those! One with open spaces for a game of Frisbee?  Yep, got that too!  There is something for everyone when it comes to parks in Ankeny!

2.  Grab your pole, some bait, your handy-dandy fishing license and head to one of our local fishing holes.

3.  And speaking of fishing, why not take part in the Ankeny Kids Fishing Derby?

4.  Ankeny Unplugged is a great way to gather with friends, listen to live music and have some good old fashioned fun.  Oh, and don’t forget to buy your early bird season passes before they’re gone!

5.  Looking for a good experience AND fresh, locally grown produce, as well as arts, crafts, and entertainment?  The Ankeny Farmers’ Market is just the place for you!

6.  Are you a sports fan?  If so, be sure to take in an  Ankeny High School or Ankeny Centennial baseball, softball, or soccer game.  Be a part of the action and watch rich traditions continue!

7. Maybe watching sports isn’t exactly your thing, but playing is!  That’s ok, too.  We’ve got some of the best golf courses around!  Check out one of our many public or private courses.

8.  Finally, we encourage you to get out and take advantage of one of the newest and best recreational trails in the state.  High Trestle Trail spans 25 miles, from Ankeny to Woodward, with many scenic and entertaining stops along the way.  So, grab your bike or running shoes and get exploring!

Tornado Preparedness: Staying Safe This Spring

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Weather in Iowa can only be described as predictably unpredictable.  This week, for example,  we’ve had it all -- sunshine and temps in the 80s early in the week, to wind, rain, frigid temps and predicted snow late in the week.  But I’m not complaining!  Nope.  Us Iowans, we’re conditioned to roll with the punches when it comes to climate.  And if there is one thing I’ve learned with regards to the weather after living in Iowa for all these years, it is to always.be.prepared.  (Those good ol’ Boy Scouts sure know what they’re talking about!)

This preparation piece is especially crucial during the spring season, also known as, tornado season.  You see?  The problem with tornados, like many natural disasters, is that you never know exactly when or where they will strike or how severe they might be.  Therefore, your best bet is to be prepared with a plan of action.  Here are five simple steps you can take to ensure that you, your loved ones, and your home are as safe as possible should a twister touch down.

●Identify the safest place for shelter.  In your home, this is likely the basement or storm cellar.  If underground safety is unavailable, head to the centermost part of your home, like a small interior room or hallway, on the lowest level.  Your safe place should be away from windows, doors, and exterior walls. The more walls between you and the outside, the better!

●Become familiar with your community’s weather alert system and make sure all adult and teenagers in your home is aware of what to do when a tornado watch or warning is issued. (Interested in the difference between a watch and a warning?  Click here to learn more.)

●Develop a family plan.  Identify escape routes out of your home and neighborhood, on the off chance they are necessary, then assign an emergency meeting point. 

Buy or put together an emergency survival kit that consists of: several days worth of drinking water and preservable foods, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, basic tools, a portable weather radio, batteries, clothing, blankets, cash and credit cards, necessary medications, work gloves, and important documents (including insurance policies).  

●Finally, conduct periodic tornado drills so all family members are aware of what to do in the event of a twister.

Again, the only predictable thing about tornadoes is that they are, for the most part, unpredictable.  So, taking the time to prepare yourself, your family, and your home can prove highly worthwhile when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and twisters touch down.  

Easy Landscaping Ideas For Spring

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

An expert gardener/landscaper, I am not.  However, as a real estate agent, I AM a home connoisseur of sorts.  My many years in the business has afforded me the opportunity to witness plenty of dos and don’ts when it comes to landscaping and increasing curb appeal.  With spring weather {hopefully!} on the horizon soon, I thought I would share just a few easy ways to increase the aesthetic appeal of your yard.

Start with a plan. And don’t hesitate to dream big!  That’s where great ideas begin.  Think about how and who will be utilizing your yard.  Do you need a family space used for playing catch with the dog, BBQs, and watching outdoor movies?  Or a relaxing retreat that serves as your own personal sanctuary?  Be mindful of the amount of time you are willing to put into maintenance and upkeep.  Now is also the time to brainstorm bigger, long-term ideas, such as a bird bath/feeder, a garden, water features, flowers, or even a hammock, that could add function and fun to your space.

Grand plans are great, but big ideas aside, there are several smaller, simple landscaping concepts that can not only increase your curb appeal, but also serve as a cornerstone for the larger lawn dreams that you’ve been scheming.  Here are a few:

Focus On The Front (door and porch)

●Guide your guest’s eyes from the street to your front door with a manicured, shrub-lined walkway. 

●Consider placing containers of flowers near the front entry as an easy and inexpensive way to add some eye-catching color.  The brighter the color, the easier to see from the street! Porches appear especially welcoming with potted shrubs, trees, or flowers.

●Symmetry is pleasing to the eye, so use this to your advantage by placing pots on either side of the front door OR if you have a corner door, group 3 varying shaped large containers, filled with flowers or plants, along the wall near the door.

●Good landscape lighting is necessary for both convenience and safety.  Use low-voltage lights to illuminate walkways leading to the porch or door. 

Consider Container Gardens

Container gardens are one of the easiest and most popular types of landscaping. They add color and a homey feel to most any exterior -- without breaking bank.  Your local garden center carries pre-planted containers or you could create your own with an favorite flowers or plants.  An asymmetrical, staggered arrangements is almost always pleasing to the eye -- whether it be up against the house or in the corner of a concrete area. 

Lawn Maintenance

A green, well-maintained lawn, free of weeds and clutter speaks to the pride homeowners take in the presentation of their yard.  Consistency is the key when it comes to mowing and/or watering.  Fresh mulch is also an easy way to spruce up garden beds without spending much money.  The contrast between new mulch and plants makes everything pop and will draw attention to your well maintained yard.  Finally, take the time to trim overgrown trees and shrubs.  Nothing says neglect like dead branches and excessive shrubs.

Your home’s exterior is also it’s first impression.  With a little TLC and even less time, you can ensure that the pride in your home is evident AND that all passersby are overcome with that positive first impression it deserves!

Preparing Your Home For Spring, Part 2: The Exterior Edition

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As promised, this week we are continuing our series on preparing your home for the spring season.  Our last post focused on inside-related chores to spruce up and organize your house in time for spring, while this week’s blog is going to provide you with some tips and tricks to get the outside of your home in tip-top shape.  We’ll call it The Exterior Edition

Undeniably, your home’s exterior is the primary victim of winter’s harsh elements.  And it is for this reason that we should all focus a little time and attention on the outside of our houses in preparation for spring and all the weather-related conditions that come with it!  Keep reading for some simple ideas on what you can do to prepare your pad for the warmer days ahead. 

● Begin by walking around your home to examine the caulking of windows and doors, as well as the weather stripping that surrounds those entrances. Old, dry, cracked caulking and dysfunctional weather stripping should be replaced.

● Next, (safely!) get on the roof to check flashing, caulking, and shingles in preparation for spring storms.  This might seem like a lot of work, but in the end, leak prevention and making proper roof repairs will be worth the effort!  Check specifically for broken or missing shingles, as well as, rust and mold. 

● Now while you’re already up on the roof, take the time to clean out gutters and downspouts. Go the extra mile and check for proper drainage by running a hose on the roof and watching where the water flows. If leaks are found, caulking or epoxy can be used to seal it once the area dries. 

● Spring is the ideal time to pressure wash your siding to clean it and prevent mold formation. 

● While you have that pressure washer handy, use it to clean walkways and other concrete areas after removing any debris, leaves, or tree limbs.

● Finally, begin thinking ahead to any landscaping or planting plans you might have and get prepared.  Replace old, cracked hoses and pull out any gardening tools that were stored over winter.  That way, as soon as that warm weather arrives for good, you’ll be well on your way to a perfectly manicured yard!

Your home (both inside and out!) should be a place to relax and enjoy the (soon-to-be) spring weather.  By preparing the inside of your home for spring AND following these simple steps to get the outside in shape too, you and your house will be ready to soak up that sun in no time!

Preparing Your Home For Spring, Part 1: The Interior

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Could it be?!  Is spring really finally here?  I can’t say for sure, but whether we’re ready or not, ball games are in full-swing, the birds have reemerged, and kids are counting down the days until summer vacation.  If you’re anything like me, as the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer, you get the itch to clean and freshen up your home – both inside and out.  Today we’re going to talk a little about what kinds of things you can do to prepare your home’s interior for the change in seasons.  Then, next week we’ll follow up with ideas for freshening up your home’s exterior in time for spring.

Maintaining your home’s interior and preparing it for spring may require a bit of time, some organization, and a little work, but follow these easy steps and you’ll be ready to enjoy the sunshine in no time!

Spring Interior To-Do List:

  • HVAC maintenance.  Call on a professional now while the days aren’t yet scorching to ensure that your AC unit is functioning properly AND without using more energy than necessary.  Now is also the time to replace filters and make note on the calendar to continue to do so monthly.
  • Inspect caulking around windows and doors.  Often times these openings can separate ever so slightly from their frames in harsh winter temperatures.  A quick application of external silicone caulking or sealant can remedy this without much hassle.
  • Change the direction of your ceiling fans.  During the summer months, it is ideal to have your fans blowing cool air down to give the room a nice breeze and to feel cooler.  And the opposite is true in the winter.
  • Inspect and clean your clothes dryer vent to make sure it is clear of lint and functions properly.  A clogged vent can result it warm air being blown back into the laundry room, which in turn, eventually raises the temperature of the entire house.
  • Spring clean!  Now is the time to dust, mop, vacuum, organize, and purge your home of unwanted and unused items.  Wash linens, shower curtains, children’s toys, blankets, and pillows.  And don’t forget the windows, blinds, air vents, fans, and the fireplace from winter!

Your home goes through many changes as it ages and endures seasonal changes.  Not only is it rewarding to prepare for spring, but NECESSARY as well!  So, what are you waiting for?  Get busy!  Warmer temperatures are on the way!

Displaying blog entries 191-200 of 203