Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 61-70 of 177

Family Friendly New Year's Eve Ideas

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Go big and stay home! Is that YOUR motto for a New Year’s Eve spent with kids? The days of dancing past midnight and sleeping until noon may be gone, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end! Nope. We’ve got you covered with these kid-approved FAMILY FRIENDLY NEW YEAR’S EVE IDEAS!

  1. New Year’s Eve Count Down Bags

  1. DIY Balloon Drop


  1. New Year Reflections


  1. Cookies and Milk Toast

  1. New Years Tree

  1. New Year’s Eve Scavenger Hunt

  1. Balloon Countdown


  1. Paper Plate Shakers

  1. Minute To Win It Competitions

Tips for Day after Christmas Shopping!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Don’t worry if you missed Black Friday or Cyber Monday—you can still snag great deals the day after Christmas. Here’s how to get the most out of your post-holiday shopping.

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! 


Unfortunately for the Make A Wish Foundation and all of Iowa, our top pick, Jolly Holiday Lights, is now closed for the season. Heavy rains earlier this week were just no match for this awesome event. Those wanting to still make a contribution to Make A Wish, can do so {here}.  Though we are sad for the foundation, its volunteers, and all of those who enjoy this display year after year, we are confident they will be back again in 2016 and will be bigger and better than ever! Until then, we’ve got you covered with plenty of other lighting display choices!

For starters, 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 December 18th, 19th and 20th 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!


DIY Holiday Gift for Neighbors

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Christmas is right around the corner and we know how crazy life can be, so we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite DIY Neighbor (or friend!) Gift Ideas! Oh, but these aren’t just any neighbor gift ideas.  These are the cutest, quickest, and easiest gift ideas out there. PLUS most of them come with free printables!  All you have to do is print – total score, right?!

1. Eat Drink & Be Merry

2. Snowball Playdough

3. Disposable Dishes

4. Snowman Mason Jar

5. Gingerbread House Kit

6. Christmas M&M Poem

7. Bread Wrappers

8. Donut Gift Tag

9. Christmas Stove Top Potpourri

10. Snowman Popcorn Covers

Now, the only question is: How will you ever decide which one to pick?!?

2015 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.
















Thursday, December 10, 2015


Ankeny Community Chamber Luncheon


This event is open to the public and requires tickets in advance. Stop by the Ankeny Chamber office at 210 S. Ankeny Blvd. to get yours today!




Friday, December 4, 2015


Mayor’s Tree Lighting



Join Ankeny's Mayor Gary Lorenz and City Council for The Mayor’s Tree Lighting on Friday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m at the Fire Department.

Kick off the holidays with at this new event that is sure to become a tradition for the whole family! Kids can make a holiday craft and learn about the Keep the Wreath Green program, winter fire safety, and Pluggies Partners. The Fire Department will also be accepting donations for Toys for Tots. Refreshments will be available. 

At 6:45 p.m. guests will be invited outside to light the big tree with Mayor Lorenz.

This event is free! And rumor has it, Santa will be making an appearance!


Saturday, December 5, 2015


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. 
Free Horse drawn Wagon rides also available through Uptown from 12-3pm.




Thursday, December 10, 2015


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


Saturday, December 12, 201


Breakfast with Santa


A holiday tradition for the children of Ankeny continues with this year's Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 12

Boys and girls ages 3 through 7 can spend the morning visiting with Santa at the Lakeside Center. The program will begin with a delicious breakfast and, after, children will have an opportunity to decorate a Christmas sheet and share their holiday wishes with Kris Kringle.

This is an open activity and participants can arrive any time between 9:00 and 10:30 a.m. to visit with Santa and enjoy breakfast.

A paying adult must accompany all children. Each person eating breakfast must pay admission.


Please register online at by December 6, 2015.

Cost is $8.00 per resident, $10.00 for non-residents.

Breakfast with Santa is sponsored by Hy-Vee.




Tuesday, December 15, 2015


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: 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.

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

Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Registration deadline is December 11. 

To register online, please visit






Tips for Reducing your Heating Bill this Winter

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With the colder (read: frigid!) months now upon us, you might find yourself concerned with the ever-rising cost of utilities as temperatures fall.  The winter months are already packed with additional holiday expenses, so why not do yourself a favor and save some money when it comes to your heating bill?  We’ve compiled a list of a few tips for reducing your heating bill that won’t break the bank OR require much time and energy.  These are simple and quick steps for cutting the crazy expenses of utilities so you have more money to spend on the things you enjoy!



1.  Turn down the thermostat.  Yep, it’s as easy as that.  Now, we’re not suggesting you live in an uncomfortable climate, but we are saying that your home doesn’t need to feel like the tropics either!  Find a temperature that is comfortable for you and your family, then program your thermostat.  Chances are, if you’re lowering the thermostat by only a few degrees, you won’t even notice the change!  Additionally, it is wise to turn down the temp when you are out of the house (during the workday) and at night when you are sleeping.  Turning down the temp can shave 5-10% off your heating bill -- a savings that is sure to show over time!


2.  Take advantage of sunlight!  Open those window coverings during the days to let the light shine in!  Hey, it’s free heat!  Conversely, be sure to close them again when it’s dark to trap the heat from escaping through the windows.


3.  Wear socks.  As silly as it sounds, when your feet are warm, your body feels snugger, too!  And if you’re still shivering?  Grab layers and a blanket!  Don’t let your first response to feeling chilly be cranking up the heat.  It takes a little thought and maybe some self-control, but in the end, the effort will be worth the saving.


4.  Winterize windows.  This can be as easy as putting up the plastic sheets over wind-leaking windows.


5.  Delete the drafts! Wherever wind and cool temps are entering, heat is sure to be escaping.  Seal leaks around windows, doors, ducts, or pipes. Caulking and weather stripping can be purchased at home improvement stores for this purchase.  With just a little bit of elbow grease and effort, this work pays off when winter weather stays away. 


6.  Replace your furnace filter regularly. A blocked filter can lower the efficiency of your furnace and drive up the cost of heating your home.


7.  Set those ceiling fans to help, not hinder, your heating efforts.  During the winter months, set your ceiling fans to suck warm air up and distribute it throughout your home.


Still in a pinch to pay that heating bill?  This website ( offers many potential solutions for assistance.  In addition, utility companies will often give over-the-phone or in-person, specific tips for heating bill reduction. The time it takes to make the call might be all you need to save some green!

Guest Post from Hilary Prall, Rustopia: Home Staging

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Hilary Prall, Owner and Home Styling Consultant at Rustopia shares a little about the how's and why's of home staging!


All the world’s a stage… --William Shakespeare

Selling your home can be one of the most stressful things you’ll do in your lifetime. You will be trying to find a new place to live, packing up and going through personal belongings, making sure you will get enough financing to make the purchase, and to top it off…you will have to keep the house clean for potential buyers! While I can’t help you with most of those stresses, I can give you the answer to making it much easier for you to keep your house looking clean, tidy, and appealing to possible buyers—staging.

You may have heard of staging before, but weren’t sure what it means. Your realtor may have even suggested it as a way to sell your home faster and, possibly, for a greater price. Staging means creating a space in which a potential buyer can see themselves living. Sometimes it’s difficult when walking into either an empty space or a home filled with personal possessions to see where the buyers’ furniture might go, or where they would position their dining room table, pool table, ant farm, etc. What? You know there’s someone out there who has said ant farm…and needs to picture where those ants would be happiest in a new home! Okay, maybe not, but you see where I’m going with this; we all have those certain things we’re bringing along on the move that we want to be able to visualize in our possible new space.

Now that you can see why staging is important, let me help you make the changes to maximize your home’s potential for sale and help you to more easily keep the space clean for potential showings.

1. Remove Clutter. This step is the easiest step and costs nothing but your time. Since you’re already (hopefully) starting to go through possessions, deciding what to keep vs. toss, and packing, this is the perfect time to cull each room and see what doesn’t need to be there. Clutter can be any number of things: trash, mail, books, décor, even furniture...and especially the contents of every junk drawer and cupboard.  We all “live” in our homes; we have creature comforts, but sometimes the things we enjoy living with actually take away from the physical area and aesthetic of the space. This just might be the perfect opportunity to get rid of that shaggy old recliner or, better yet, the home-made side table you’ve been hanging onto since college—moving means changes and upgrades!

2. Move Things Around. Alright, you’re not ready to part with your college habitation belongings yet, I get it. So, how about you move that side table into the guest room where you’re missing a night stand. Two birds, one stone…so they say. This moving-things-around method will work with a lot of your pieces. Take a look around your house and see what spaces feel too full vs. which spaces could use a couple more pieces to define a certain “look”—sitting area, reading nook, kids’ toy center. You want potential buyers to walk into your home and feel like they need to live there; you want them to want to live in this magical, well-curated space.

3. Get Rid of the Red. Or Purple, or Green, or whatever fabulous color that you love and have painted on all your walls. I will admit this is the one thing I will have to fix in a lot of the areas of our home when we decide to list it. Our space is very personalized (i.e. I have an entire wall with the lyrics from The Cranberries Dreams painted on it); you want to love the space you live in—I love to style homes too, but that’s for another day. Not everyone is going to share your love of color, texture…pizzazz…so you’re probably going to need to paint some walls, cupboards…or cover your beloved lyric wall. ::sigh:: Choose a nice, neutral color that will be the perfect back drop to any potential buyers’ belongings.

4. De-personalize. One of the hardest parts of selling your house is making it a place in which everyone can picture themselves, instead of it being a personal expression of yourself. Not only will you have eliminated the little spaces you love the most—your favorite reading nook, with all of your books, 7 pairs of reading glasses, a coffee cup that never leaves—but you will also need to lose all traces of “you” actually living there. You will need to take down and pack for your next home: family photos, personal art pieces, trophies, or your collection of 1950’s bake-ware (oh wait, that’s in my house). Just like the other steps, anything that would cloud a potential buyer’s vision for your space, needs to be stored away.

Alright, I’ve given you the basic steps of staging…although, there are many more things you can do to maximize your home’s potential for resale. Now, how does all of this help you to keep your house clean-at-the-ready for showings? Just imagine your house, free of knick-knacks, clutter, the 70 pairs of shoes you’re in denial about in your closet, the 17 bottles of half-used cleaning products under every sink, all those pictures you’ve lovingly framed and hung on the wall going upstairs. Can you see it? Now a quick trip through the house with a duster, a vacuum, and possibly a wet wipe, will have your space spic-and-span (get it?) for potential buyers. You will hardly have to pick anything up before hand, save maybe just making your bed and a quick stash of toys; your house will be ready and waiting when it’s time to show—nearly stress-free.

The benefits of staging your home almost make it seem like we should live like this all the time—almost. 

Santa's North Pole Village 2015

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 300 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 34th Annual Santa’s North Pole Village is taking place this Saturday, November 7, 2015, so get it on your calendars and make plans now!  With between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors expected annually, 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!  Your vendor list can be found {here}.



Here’s what you need to know:


34th Annual Santa's North Pole Village Craft Show


Saturday, November 7, 2014.    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.


Tickets may be pre-purchased at

Halloween Safety Tips

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Ghost, ghouls and monsters aren't the only things to be afraid of this Halloween. Accidents and mishaps increase dramatically when kids are out and about trick-or-treating.

To avoid the dangers our children face while trick or treating, common sense is crucial! Be aware of potential Halloween hazards and then take the precautions to eliminate them.

Here are some of our best tips for staying safe this Halloween!

Halloween Costume Safety

  • Wear flame resistant costumes.
  • Try on costumes before Halloween to allow time for altering, if need be.
  • Hem your costumes to avoid trips and falls.
  • Apply reflective tape to Halloween costumes.
  • Use hypoallergenic and non-toxic makeup.
  • Wear comfortable, practical shoes that can be double knotted.
  • Keep your costume and wig away from candles. No one wants to have to stop, drop, and roll on Beggar’s Night!
  • Don't carry fake swords, guns, knives or similar accessories that look authentic. Make sure they're flexible and cannot harm anyone. Just plain common sense, right?

Trick-or-Treating Tips

  • Plan the route ahead of time.
  • Trick or treat in familiar neighborhoods.
  • Carry a flashlight with fresh batteries after dark.
  • Wear identification that's easy to read.
  • Always trick or treat in groups, accompanied by an adult.
  • Follow a curfew.
  • Stay on the sidewalks and out of the streets. Cross only at intersections and designated crosswalks.
  • Walk. No running….there’s plenty of candy to go around!
  • Avoid flower beds and gardens.
  • Watch out for open flames in jack-o-Lanterns.
  • Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses.
  • Don't enter any houses of strangers.
  • Carry a spare Halloween bag, in case yours breaks or you fill your original one…yay for LOTS of candy!
  • Don't approach unfamiliar pets and animals.
  • Don't cut across yards and stay out of backyards.
  • Follow traffic signals and don't jaywalk.
  • Always watch for cars backing up or turning.
  • Review the "stop, drop and roll" procedure in case your costume catches on fire.
  • Never accept rides from strangers. Duh!
  • Respect other people and their property.
  • Be polite and say "thank you".
  • Don't eat any candy until it's inspected for tampering under bright lights.
  • Avoid candy that has loose wrappings, is unwrapped, has puncture holes, or is homemade.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to an adult or the police.


Fall Fun: Halloween in Uptown

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!

TODAY, Thursday, October 22 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 held 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!

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


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

For more details, visit the Uptown Ankeny Facebook page:


Displaying blog entries 61-70 of 177