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Spring Home Prep: Exterior Edition 2017

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As promised, this week we are continuing our series on preparing your home for the spring season.  Last week we posted about inside-related chores to spruce up and organize your house in time for spring, so 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. 

And 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 the Interior of your Home for Spring

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Could it be?!  Is spring really finally here?  We can’t say for sure, but whether we’re ready or not, ball practices are in full-swing, the birds have reemerged, and kids are counting down the days until summer vacation.  If you’re anything like us, 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, in the next couple of weeks, 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!

There's an App for That: Apps to Help you Move

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.

 

 

Sortly (iPhone, free, with in-app purchases)

The Sortly app breaks down to-do lists by week, so that you know when to handle different parts of your move (and never get overwhelmed). Whether you're just starting to look into your options, or confirming your move date with the movers, the app keeps you on schedule.

 

Magic Plan (iPhone, free, with in-app purchases)

MagicPlan quickly creates professional floor plans & work estimates. It measures rooms and draws floor plans just by taking pictures. Simply add objects, annotations, photos and attributes to generate reports or complete estimates.

 

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 say...work 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!

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! 

2017 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 news 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 39th 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, Jason Cameron!), 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!  

Here’s all you need to know about this awesome event!

 

WHEN: Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Iowa Events Center, 730 Third St., Des Moines.

COST: Adults: $12 (online: $10); children ages 7-12: $4; children ages 6 and under: free.

Home and garden show highlights

Do you have a whole-house remodel planned, or just need to fix that drywall patch? Check out the Des Moines Home + Garden Show for …

THE MARKET

Check out The Market, a unique shopping experience that features home décor, pottery, gifts and unique items for all garden enthusiasts. Find that one of a kind garden piece or beautiful artwork for your home. A cornucopia of gift ideas for your home and landscape await you at The Market. Don't miss it! (Located in the skywalk)

 

TINY HOUSE EXHIBIT: A showcase by the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity Restore on how to cut costs and live a simpler life.

HOME TWEET HOME

Young beneficiaries of the Des Moines Ronald McDonald House will be invited to draw their dream house, and then see it come to life as a birdhouse, thanks to the talents of Central Iowa’s top media personalities, designers and tastemakers. Attendees can participate in a silent auction to walk away with their favorite birdhouse. All proceeds will benefit the Des Moines Ronald McDonald House.

 

INSPIRATION STAGE

Catch presentations at THE INSPIRATION STAGE, featuring local and national expert in Home and Garden. Designed by Meghan Blum Interiors. 

 

WINE VILLAGE

The Wine Village is a favorite of show attendees. Enjoy samples from many Iowa wineries and take home a bottle or two. New to the Wine Village this year is Ulrich's Meat Market. Stop by their booth to sample and purchase some of their delicious and famous Pella Bologna.

 

HERO DAY: Again, the show will offer free admission to all firefighters, law enforcement officers and military personnel on Friday.

New Year's Resolutions for your Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As you’re working hard on all those fresh New Year’s resolutions, we encourage you to set some goals for your home and finances.  Whether you’re a homeowner or planning on becoming one soon, here are 5 home-based resolutions you can make -- and maybe even keep -- this year!

1.  Make extra mortgage payments.  This is common sense, but can make a huge difference.  The more payments you make in a shorter period of time, the less you end up paying long-term, and the faster you’ll rid yourself of that mortgage payment.  Making extra payments also allow the equity in your home to grow faster.

 

2. Get organized/de-clutter.  Less is always more...especially when it comes to overflowing closets and cupboards.  The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to tackle the clutter!  And, to avoid feeling overwhelmed, why not set a goal to organize and de-clutter one room per month?

 

3. Lower your energy bill and save money.  We’ve talked about lowering your heating bill during the cold winter months, but here are just a few small, simple ways to go green and save money:

● Turn off your air conditioning before you leave for vacations in the summer.

● Have your ductwork sealed and insulated.

● Jam-pack that dishwasher before running it each and every time.

● As your mom always said, turn off the lights when leaving a room.  Take this a step further and put outside lights on a timer.

● Reduce the length of your shower by just a quick 5 minutes.

 

4. Review your homeowner’s insurance. It is important to review your policy on occasion and the New Year is the perfect time to check your coverage.  Taking the time to speak with your insurance provider can save you money in the long run.

 

5.  Get in shape! (Keep your home maintained!)  In case you missed it, we’ve made this one easy for you -- just refer back to a couple of our previous blog posts to keep you in line!

2016 Holiday Light Displays Around the Metro

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Nothing says “Holiday Spirit” like grabbing a snack and some hot cocoa, then jumping in the car to take in the lights and sights of the season!  In and around the Des Moines metro, the choices are plenty when it comes to areas for your tour de lights.  We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of our faves! 

First up, the obvious: Jolly Holiday Lights in its new and improved location!  Drive through Adventureland to enjoy one of Central Iowa’s most beloved traditions!  Oh, and don’t forget a stop at Santa's Wish Shop where you can talk to Santa, get a snack or even snag some stocking stuffers! See link for admission prices and hours.

 

Next, we recommend planning a drive through of a few well-known Beaverdale neighborhoods!  Beaverdale Lights is a show of about 50 homes on Ashby and Wallace Avenues east and west of Beaver Avenue.  Some of these are historic homes with some serious holiday cheer!

 

One of the more popular light displays on this list, the entire Historic Valley Junction area, comes out with lights, Christmas icons, and tons of holiday cheer. They turn it on full force with more than 100,000 holiday lights strung around the shopping district.  You’ll want to get out of your car and walk around to take it all in!

 

While you’re out and about in Des Moines, see to it that your tour involves a drive to the Gingerbread House at 200 North Main Street in Grimes.  This is where Bob Jordan and his family set up their elaborate indoor and outdoor display every year. And just to put this one in perspective, the Jordan’s have so many lights that they beginning the decorating process in October!  A show said to use more than 1,000 feet of drop cord, the 2010 show used 127 plastic snowmen and 74 Santa Claus statues. The family gives all proceeds to the Special Olympics – a win, win in our book!

 

Up for just a little longer drive? Ted Lare Garden Center in Cumming is a great spot to see beautiful holiday lights. The garden center is decorated with thousands of twinkling lights, including their large metal cactus by the front doors of the Center. Put the kids in their jammies, turn up the Christmas tunes and make the drive. They’ll be asleep when you get home!
 

Looking to stay a little closer to home, Ankeny friends?  Our town is proud to feature several well-lit neighborhoods known for their festive-ness and magnificent light displays! 

 

Perhaps the most popular is the famous Gingerbread Lane on Richland Court and the nearby Richland and Rio Circles. Rumor has it that Santa, Mrs. Claus, and four elves will be making an appearance on weekend evenings and collecting donations for the Food Bank of Iowa from 6-8pm. These neighbors have a story to tell and do so using lights and decorations! 

 

Called the city’s best kept Christmas light secret, some homes in The Country Club division boast beautiful displays and lots of holiday spirit, as well!

 

Of course, the well lit and decorated homes in and around Ankeny are too numerous for us to mention all.  But we want to know…Where have you found the best light displays and festive decorations?  We’ll be checking the comments and making sure to take your advice!

2016 Ankeny Holiday Event Round-Up

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Tis the season to spend time with family, friends...and your community!  Lucky for you, Ankeny is a town with lots of really special Holiday events happening soon, making that quality family/friend/community time a reality!  Below you will find a list of a few of our favorite must-see and do special events.

 

December 2 – 18

Ankeny Community Theatre’s production of The Very Merry Xmas Carol Holiday Adventure Show

 

Ankeny Community Theatre • 1932 SW 3rd Street • Ankeny, IA 50023 • (515) 964-5007

A narrator’s retelling of Christmas tales quickly unravels into an action-packed adventure when the Xmas, a malicious force of holiday ruination, sweeps in to destroy all things red and green. Classic holiday characters are the only hope to stop it: reluctant Ebenezer Scrooge, intrepid Frosty the Snowman, and timid Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer among them. This dream team embarks on a journey to restore the Spirit of Christmas to the mysterious Ice Palace — but can they do it before the Xmas demolishes every last candy cane, sugar plum, and shred of Christmas cheer?

When: December 2-18, 2016; Friday & Saturday at 7:30 pm; Sunday at 2:00 pm

Cost: Adult $15, Senior (60+) $12, Child (grades K-12) $10

 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ankeny Historical Society Christmas Cookie Sale

Need Christmas cookies, but don’t feel like doing the baking?

Christmas in Uptown Ankeny - Santa’s Treasure Hunt

Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, get your picture taken and receive your token to hunt for your Treasure in participating Uptown Businesses. Start at the Ankeny Historical Barn then Hunt for your treasure in Uptown. There will be a cookie and candy sale, cocoa and other goodies. 

Belgian waffle breakfast– 7:30–11:00 am

Treasure Hunt for children– 12:00–3:00 pm

Horse Drawn Wagon Rides– 12:00–3:00 pm

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ankeny Community Chamber Luncheon

This event is open to the public and requires tickets in advance. Click {here} to register.

 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Santa and Mrs. Claus visit the Library

Take your little ones for this event at our local library.  Let them visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, make a craft, watch a movie, and more from 6:00-7:30pm

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday Crafts and Cocoa

Join Ankeny Parks and Recreation for a night jam-packed with crafts, cocoa and fun!

Kids aged Kindergarten through 5th grade will be able to complete a variety of holiday-themed crafts at their own pace to celebrate the holiday.

K - 2nd: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

3rd - 5th: 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Fee is $15 for residents, $18 for non-residents.

Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Registration deadline is December 4. 

To register online, please visit {this link}.


Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Celebration

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Hosting a Thanksgiving celebration doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds! With the right amount of planning and preparation, you can host a great gathering to remember and still have sanity when it’s all over. Follow our top TIPS FOR HOSTING A THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION and you’ll stress less, so you can enjoy more!

1. Make a list. Or ten. Knowing what you have to do and when it needs to be done will help you not only keep on schedule, but delegate tasks to people who offer to help.

2. Keep Dishes simple and traditional. Big gatherings with family and friends is NOT the time to experiment in the kitchen. Most guests come with a particular palate for Thanksgiving dinner. As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder,” and stick to what you know.

3. Ask guests to bring a side, appetizer, dessert, or drinks. Don't bare the burden of buying, preparing, making, and serving everything! Almost all guest will very gladly bring a dish or two to share! Trust us -- they're THANKFUL that you've opened up your home...so they didn't have to!

4. Make what you can ahead of time. Casseroles, vegetables and desserts can be prepared and cooked a couple of days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Don’t save it all the big day when you can knock some of those dishes off of your to-do list ahead of time.

5. Consider buying v. making! Not all dishes need to be made from scratch! It’s OK to purchase items from a bakery or deli if it will save you time and sanity. If you struggle with making gravy or stuffing, go ahead and purchase it premade and save yourself from the stress. Chances are, if you pretty it in a pretty serving dish, your guests won’t even know! And we won’t tell!

6. Purchase disposable storage containers, so that you can send leftovers home with your guests. They'll appreciate it and then you won't be stuck storing/eating leftovers for weeks!

7. Set the table the day before. You know you’ll be busy cooking the meal on the big day, so go ahead and set the dinner table the evening before. It’ll be one less thing to do on Thanksgiving Day!

8. Enjoy the day that it is a blessing to be able to prepare and share a meal with loved ones. Your guests are there to spend time with you and not be entertained. Don’t stay confined to the kitchen and miss out on all the fun! Relax, enjoy the day and be grateful for the time you have together.

From all of us at Ankeny Real Estate Service, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving full of family, friends, AND FOOD!

Santa's North Pole Village 2016

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 250 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 35th Annual Santa’s North Pole Village is taking place this Saturday, November 5, 2016, so get it on your calendars and make plans now!  With between 5,000-10,000 visitors expected, 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:

35th Annual Santa's North Pole Village Craft Show

Saturday, November 5, 2016.    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 features an array of food vendors.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 169