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Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 201

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!

Ankeny Summerfest 2016: Part 2

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Welcome back to part II in our series highlighting ANKENY SUMMERFEST and some of our favorite/we-think-you-ought-to-know-about events!  As we mentioned last time, not only do we pride ourselves on being the “Ankeny Specialists” when it comes to real estate, but we’d like to think we know a little something about our community and it’s happenings, too.  So, without further ado, here are just a few of the, what we consider to be, can’t-miss events from SummerFest days 3 and 4 (July 9 and 10).

 

 

Read Part I {here}.

 

Saturday, July 9, is a day jam-packed with fun and activities for all ages and citizens with a wide variety of interests. 

 

● The day begins with a bang as the SummerFest Grand Parade takes to the streets of Ankeny at 9:00 am.  As long-time patrons, we encourage parade-goers to find a spot along the route early, come prepared, and be ready to be entertained!

● In its 18th year, the Cardboard Boat Regatta is among the most popular of SummerFest events!  The challenge to, “design and build a person-powered corrugated cardboard boat that is capable of racing, or at least floating,“ is not only exciting for participants, but is also highly entertaining (read: hilarious!) to watch.

● Once again, no SummerFest evening is complete without a stop by the Leisure Garden where Casey Muessigmann and Decoy will be performing on Saturday.

● Among much, much more, don’t forget to check out other Saturday events, such as: The Miss 16 Contest; Kiwanis Pancake Fest; Sand Volleyball, Slowpitch Softball, and Kickball Tournaments.

 

Even on its final day, SummerFest doesn’t let up on fun!  The events schedule is full, but a few of our Sunday favorites are:

 

● Family Fun Day.

● Ankeny Optimist SummerFest 5k/1 mile run.  This is the perfect way to work off some of that fantastic fried food from the midway that you’ve been consuming all weekend!  Even better?  It’s for a great cause!

● Fireworks!  The finale!  It’s a spectacular show...especially for those that choose to be up close and personal, viewing the fireworks from the Leisure Garden or Prairie Ridge Sports Complex!  These fireworks are the perfect way to celebrate another successful year of SummerFest!

 

And there you have it!  Our complete list of must-see/must-do 2016 SummerFest activities!  For the full schedule of events, details, and other general information, visit www.ankenysummerfest.org.

 

Now, we want to know, are YOU planning a trip to SummerFest this year?  If so, what’s on your list of can’t-miss events?

Ankeny Summerfest 2016: Part 1

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

At Ankeny Real Estate Service, we like to refer to ourselves as the Ankeny Specialists when it comes to Ankeny homes.  BUT, that doesn’t mean that our expertise ends with the real estate market. Nope! We are proud to be a long-time, Ankeny-based business, which means our community ties are strong and we are well-versed on all things Ankeny...including local events. 

 

This year’s ANKENY SUMMERFEST is right around the corner and we think you need to know about it!  However, this 4 day event (July 7 - 10) is just too BIG for us to cram into just one blog, which is why we’ve decided to make this a 2-post series.  Today we’re excited to share with you some of our favorite Summerfest activities, beginning with the events of the first 2 days (July 7 & 8), then finishing up with the final 2 days (July 9 & 10) in our blog post next week.  So, hang onto your hats -- this is going to be fun!

 

Summerfest 2016 begins with a Thursday evening chock-full of fun!  Here’s the rundown on what Day One has to offer:

 

● Summerfest on-site carnival and vendors.  Runs Thursday, July 7 thru Sunday, July 10.  There are games, rides, and lots of attractions for the kids (or kids a heart!), as well as, plenty of foods, drinks, and vendors for those less interested in the Midway shenanigans. 

Source: Des Moines Register

● The ever-popular Entertainment Garden will be playing host to the bands, Played Out and Standing Hampton on Thursday, July 7, from 6:00-10:50 pm.  As always, entrance to the Leisure Garden is free.

Source: Ankeny Summerfest

● This year’s 3-On-3 Youth Basketball Tournament gets its start on opening day.  What an awesome opportunity to grab a couple buddies, lace up those sneakers, and begin your quest for 5th-8th grade total basketball domination! 

 

The Summerfest fun continues on into Friday with a full day of activities offered.  Some of our favorites include:

 

● The Ankeny Alumni Association will be hosting it’s 13th Annual Golf Tournament at Otter Creek Golf Course.  This is a 4 person best shot tourney, with a $70 registration fee that includes a cart, lunch, and plenty of swag!  Details can be found {here}

● This year’s Kiddie Parade is fully embracing the Summerfest theme of “50 Years of Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll” and we have no doubt that it’ll be full of fun and LOTS of kids! Kids (and parents) should meet in front of the Neveln Center at 5:45 pm.  Judging begins at 6:15, with the parade to start soon after at 6:30.

Source: Ankeny Summerfest

● Friday night’s Entertainment Garden band line-up continues with Brad Seidenfeld, from 5:30-7:00 pm and American Country from 8:00-11:50 pm.

 

And there you have it -- just a FEW of our Summerfest favorites from Days 1 & 2.  To view a complete schedule of events and to learn more about all that Summerfest has to offer, visit their website at www.ankenysummerfest.org.  Plus, don’t forget to stay tuned next week, when we highlight more of event favorites from Saturday and Sunday in our blog: Summerfest, Part II.

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.

2016 Ankeny Area Summer Bucket List

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Ankeny parents everywhere, you may all breath a collective sigh of relief right now, as we present you with the key to summer with kids!  We’ve done the work for you and created a list of fun, FAMILY FRIENDLY ANKENY AREA ACTIVITIES to keep the kids busy and your adventures exciting!

 

 

1. Fun in the Sun at Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center and Splash Park.

 

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2. Testing the waters (including the Flowrider Surf Machine!) at Cascade Falls.

 


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3. See a show by taking advantage of the reduced price movies at local theaters. 

 

4. Spend time with the family and see the sites at Ledges State Park.

 

5. The perfect spot to picnic AND enjoy art -- PapaJohn Sculpture Garden.

 


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6.  Kirkendall Public Library summer reading program and frequent special events.

 

7.  Play while getting a spray at the American Legion Garden park.

 

8.  Another way to stay cool while burning some energy -- Dean Park in Prairie Trail.

 

9. Tackle Big Creek State Park’s ENORMOUS wooden playground!

 

 

10. Feed the ducks at Hawkeye Park, then make the short walk over to Miracle League Park.

 

11.  Take in all the fun activities of SummerFest, an Ankeny tradition.

 

12.  Catch a free flick on a warm summer night at Movie Under The Stars.

 

13. Ride the rides and see the sights at Adventureland Park.

 

14.  Have fun in, on, and around Gray’s Lake.

 

 

15. Get our play on with friends and neighbors at Ankeny’s All City Play Day.

2016 Ankeny's Movies Under the Stars

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 are the 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 beings at dusk.

 

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

 

June 3: Inside Out (PG)

June 10: Toy Story (G)

June 17: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG)

June 24: Minions (PG)

July 15: The Good Dinosaur (PG)

July 22: Hotel Transylvania 2 (PG)

July 29: Elf (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/

Displaying blog entries 31-40 of 201