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Halloween in Uptown Ankeny 2016

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Holidays in our awesome community are often celebrated with amazing events put on by generous groups – and Halloween is no different! Next Thursday, October 27 from 5 – 7 pm, many of your favorite Uptown Ankeny Merchants will be offering Trick or Treating for the whole family.  Dress the kids in their costumes and look for the lighted Jack-O-Lanterns to mark participating merchants.  Halloween games, activities and balloon animals will be in the American Legion Hall.  Also in the American Legion Hall, there will be a pumpkin decorating or carving contest. 

 

 

Come join the fun at this FREE family event!

 

When you're out and about, don't forget to stop by Jamison Studios to have free pictures of your kids taken in their costumes.

 

Directions:
Uptown Ankeny along SW 3rd Street between SW Pleasant & SW Maple 

 

For more details, visit the Uptown Ankeny Halloween in Uptown event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/175598319510820/

Fall Fire Pit Safety

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Our warm summer nights have quickly turned to crisp fall evenings and the appeal of a cozy fire pit, surrounded by friend and family snacking on s'mores, has increased exponentially. In recent years, Americans have jumped on the outdoor fire pit/fireplace/fire bowl bandwagon enthusiastically and with little reservation.  And who can blame us? A warm fire, golden flames, and friendly crackles signal camaraderie and security to us all.  But maximum fire pit enjoyment requires some forethought and plenty of preventative measures. To ensure continued safety and utmost enjoyment, we encourage you to consider these six friendly fire tips.

1. Pick a proper location. When installing an outdoor fire pit, it is essential that you choose a position in which the pit or bowl will be on a steady surface.  The location should provide for proper ventilation and should be away from homes, trees, and anything potentially flammable.  We also strongly advise you to consult the owner’s manual and manufacturer's instructions.  Should any questions arise, a professional should be called.

2. Keep a fire extinguisher.  This should be accessible to the fire pit and, of course, in good working order. It is also wise to keep a bucket of sand and a garden hose handy just in case things get too hot to handle. 


3. Start small.  When the fire pit is correctly set-up, dousers are nearby, the manufacturer's instructions have been read, and you’re ready for fire, proceed by using a recommended fire starter.  Gasoline should never, under any circumstances, be used to fuel fire pit flames.  It is especially important to be mindful of strong winds that could lead to flying sparks, and wood stacked too high that can result in fire-y pellets spilling out.

4. Keep children at a distance.  Seems like a no-brainer, right?  Of course!  BUT, it is well worth the nagging reminder if it means that kids remain safe and unharmed by your “cozy” fire.  Children should never be unattended and it is a wise idea to establish a line a few feet from the pit that children are not allowed to cross.

5. Utilize large, stainless steel cooking accessories. If you intend to cook over a lit fire pit, your utensils should be long enough to reach over the flame. Stainless steel will not rust and can withstand the elements.


6. Snuff out flames.  Although your fire pit is a safe place to have a fire, that doesn’t mean that you can just leave it alone to extinguish on its own.  A fire should be put out completely by using an extinguisher or by pouring water over the fire and hot coals or wood soak, until there is no steam.  When all is said and done, coals or wood can be stored in a metal ash bucket until completely put out, and the fire pit should be covered with a lid.

Preparing Your Home For Fall

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

October is the perfect 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!

Emergency Preparedness: Important Documents

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Call us superstitious, but you know what they say -- if you're prepared for something to happen, it never will, and when you're the most unprepared, that's when it does! Print off our list of all the Important Documents you might need in the event of an immediate home evacuation, gather them, then thank us -- because {hopefully} now, it'll never happen. 

(But if it does? You're READY!)

And, you're welcome!

Cy/Hawk Series: Tips for At-Home Tailgating

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

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

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?


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!

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.

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.

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. 

Garage Organization

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Don’t let your garage become a dumping ground for misplaced objects and miscellaneous outdoor items.  Learn how to ORGANIZE YOUR GARAGE and reclaim that space in these 4 easy steps.

 


 

Step 1: Clear Out.

Begin by removing everything from the garage in order to give yourself a blank canvas.  With an empty area, you’ll be able to think more clearly and make better decisions about which items should go where.

Things to consider: Chance are, you’ll need to empty your garage on to a driveway or yard.  Therefore, common sense says -- get to work when the weather is cooperating. 

 

Step 2:  Clean Out.

Much like the inside of your home, sorting of the garage should begin with designating piles to keep, donate/sell, and toss.  The “keepers” can then, in turn, be designated into categories such as: toys, sports equipment, tools, etc.  An empty garage is the perfect time to sweep and/or power wash the floor and paint the walls.
Things to consider: Some homeowners prefer the look and benefits of an epoxied floor.  This is the time to do it.

 

Step 3:  Draft a plan.

Whether you plan on investing in a garage-organizing system or developing your own solution, we encourage you to take down the dimensions of the garage, paying particular attention to doors, windows, switches, and even how much space the parking of your cars requires.  Then take some time to think about how you how each area of the garage will be used. 

Things to consider: Keep like items together -- sports equipment stays summoned to one area, tools to another, and so on.  This just makes good, logical sense and you’ll thank yourself later on when you avoid the hassle of searching for stuff.

 

Step 4: Get to work!

Things to consider:

  • Work vertically and get items off the floor.  Even if your garage is lacking in square footage, chances are, there is plenty of wall space.  Use it to your advantage.
  • Use overhead space.
  • Frequently used items should be put in a convenient location.
  • Seasonal items can be stored in the hardest to reach spots.

 

The Pros & Cons of Buying an Older Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Tree lined streets, architecture that oozes character, and more reasonable price tags – older homes certainly have their advantages.  However, they can also come with their fair share of downfalls.  From upkeep and expenses, to layout and energy efficiency, older homes present their own challenges.  How do you decide if an older home is for you?  Let us help!  Check out our list of PROS AND CONS FOR BUYING AN OLDER HOME.

 

 

Pro: Location, location, location.  The obvious advantage of older homes is that they are often found in ideal locations, close to schools, shopping, and entertainment.  Bonus: those scenic tree lined streets that we all love so much?  They are, primarily, only an advantage of older homes in older neighborhoods.

Con: Maintenance Issues.  More years + more wear and tear = more upkeep.

Pro: Cost. It depends on location and condition, but older homes tend to have a more modest price tag, than their newer counterparts.

Con: Storage – or the lack there of!  These days, we tend to buy and have more stuff than in the past and older homes generally weren’t built to accommodate all of our present-day things.  (Tip: See this as an opportunity to be creative with your storage!)

Pro: Character.  Older homes tend to be rich in character and more unique than newer, sometimes “cookie-cutter” builds. The good news, for those that love the character of older homes, but prefer the maintenance of a new home, is that there seems to be a shift away from this “cookie-cutter” type construction. All across our community, unique homes are being built that just ooze character!

Con: These days, construction materials and trends are much more energy efficient, which means LOWER UTILITY BILLS for just-built homes vs. established ones.

Pro: Larger yards.  In an effort to conserve space and “fit more in,” new homes are being built on small lots, closer to neighbors than homes in the past.  If room to roam (Or garden!  Or play!) is important to you, older is wiser!

So, while it might seem that your dream home, rich in beautiful architecture, is the perfect choice for you, there is still a LOT to consider.  Educate yourself, figure out what is most important to you and your family, and then call us at Ankeny Real Estate Service so we can help you find that perfect place!

2016 Iowa State Fair: Our Top 10 Favorite Things To Do

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the IOWA STATE FAIR getting underway TODAY, we can’t help but to be thinking about all the fun (& food!!) an event of this grandeur has to offer.  And while there just aren’t enough hours in the day to talk about every single event, attraction, contest, food vendor, show, and activity available at the Iowa State Fair, we’d like to share our Top 10 favorite things to do!  So, let’s get started!

10. Take a trip down the Midway.  With attractions and rides galore, the Midway is open 10 a.m. to midnight each day of the fair. Mega Passes and Play Packs are available for purchase.

9. Visit the John Deere Agricultural Building. This building is the home to the butter cow (refer to #6), as well as, the largest fruits and vegetables, exciting floral contest, interesting animal exhibits (bees and ostriches -- woo hoo!), interactive displays for kids, and the Ag/Venture Trail’s 10 stops that highlight Iowa’s agricultural commodities.

 

8. Check out the Livestock Pavillion and everything the barns have to offer. From the biggest and best boars to live baby animal births, there is nothing boring about these barns!

7. Let the little ones experience Little Hands On The Farm.  This free, hands-on attraction is open daily and teaches children the importance of agriculture by letting them become the farmer.


6. No trip to the Fair is complete without a peek at the infamous Butter Cow!  An Iowa State Fair staple since 1911, the butter cow is a life-size replica of a dairy cow sculpted from 600 pounds of butter molded over a wood and metal frame.

5. Eat!  (Something on a stick, to be specific!)  With over 60 (!!) different foods on a stick and 200+ vendors, there is no shortage of options when it comes tasty treats.

4. Be entertained by some of Iowa’s finest at the Bill Riley Talent Search!  This yearly event focuses on showcasing the many talents of young Iowans and is sure to be a good show!

 

3. Take in a concert at the Grandstand.  From Dierks Bentley and KISS to Lady Antebellum and Megan Trainor, this year’s lineup doesn’t disappoint!  Checkout the full concert schedule {here}.

2. Relax at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent.  This entire tent is devoted to Iowa based brewed beers.  More specifically, 33 beers, from 13 different breweries, plus 3 additional brews from 3 regional breweries.  And to top it off, there is even a locally brewed root beer available.  Stop by 9 a.m. to midnight daily.

 

1.  Finally, take time to people watch.  This great state is made up of all kinds -- from city-folk to farmers -- the Iowa State Fair attracts us all! And leave it to this awesome event to bring us all together!

How to Prepare your Home for a Showing

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Just because you have decided to sell your home, doesn’t mean it’s ready to hit the market quite yet. In order to sell for the highest dollar amount in the shortest amount of time, it’ll have to impress buyers and—in most cases—that means the home will need to show well.

Home showings are a critical part of the home selling process. A showing invites buyers inside and lets them imagine living in the home. Usually after touring a few homes, buyers will be ready to place an offer. Shouldn’t your listing be the one that shows best?

We want the process of showing your house to be as productive as possible. We do this by helping you attract the highest number of buyers. Your home and everything inside of it should be clean, free of clutter, and welcoming. People will take notice when you put effort into preparing your home for a showing. Here are you Ankeny Real Estate Service tips for getting your home Show Ready:

Home Staging Tips & Tricks

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Appearances are everything when it comes to selling your home! Preparation and presentation are key when it comes to staging your home to sell quickly and for top-dollar! Staging helps to highlight your home’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers.

 

 

Below are a few of our best HOME STAGING tips to help you prepare your home to sell by making it look its best!

Say goodbye to dirt, grime, and clutter.

If you’re serious about selling your home, all clutter must go. Period. End of story. Clean off counters, declutter refrigerator doors, pack away knickknacks, and clear closets! This may require an off-site storage unit or a willing family member with some extra space, but we can promise that the inconvenience is well worth it! A clear and clean home equals more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge anything unnecessary or unsightly.

So-long stinky-ness!

Concentration on just the physical, visible selling points of a house can lead to the costly mistake of overlooking (ahem, smelling) the scent of a home.  The unseen, stinky funk of a property can not only hinder the selling process, but completely prevent it, as well. We wrote a whole blog post on this topic and you can read that {here}, but basically? When it comes to stink – get rid of it! Go for a clean, fresh, inviting, but not too strong scent!

Deep clean.

From clean baseboards, carpets, and gleaming windows to shining floors, dusted ceiling fans, and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest (ok, maybe not easiest, but certainly the cheapest) way to help your home show well. You may want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. Don't skimp — this step is key!

If it’s broken, fix it!

You don’t want to scare away potential buyers with any necessary repairs big or small. So paint, patch, or fix! Tackle projects you’ve been putting off and do what needs to be done in order for prospective buyers to see the home as ready to move in and not a DIY project!

Let the light in!

Light and bright is what sells! Open curtains, pull up blinds, and wash those windows!

Rearrange and evaluate furniture. 

In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area. But beware of too many pieces!

Too much furniture can make a room look too small. Eliminate extra chairs or tables that aren’t used frequently.

Neutralize and De-personalize!

Don’t get potential buyers get distracted by loud décor, bold paint colors, or anything that might be polarizing, such as highly personal, political, or religious items.

The best paint colors for home staging are taupes, beiges, whites and greys. If you have wall paper, funky accent walls or bold color on the walls, it is a good idea to neutralize it with these suggested paint colors. It is not to say that your funky taste in paint is wrong, it is simply too taste-specific, and in today’s market, you cannot afford to alienate the masses. The same can go for accent furniture, throw pillows, rugs and drapes. Think neutral walls, drapes and furnishing with pops of color achieved through throw pillows, rugs and fresh flowers.

Create maximum curb appeal.

Be sure the curb appeal of your home is looking good & that from the minute potential buyers pull up to your house they are interested. Mow the grass, edge the lawn, pick weeds, & be sure your shrubs and flowers are healthy. Seasonal flowers at the front door are a plus. Replace old door hardware and either paint or buy a new front door if needed. Invest in a quality doormat for a welcoming entrance. Don’t forget the backyard either! You never know what is at the top of your buyers house “must haves list” is & it could be a pretty backyard!

Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 169