Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 61-70 of 173

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:


Quick & Easy Halloween Decor Ideas

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With Halloween just a couple of weeks away, now is the time to decorate your digs! Make that house festive and fun with these 10 QUICK AND EASY DIY HALLOWEEN DÉCOR IDEAS!


1.Glowing Eyes. {source}


2.DIY Spiderweb {source}


3.Silhouette Lamp Shade {source}


4.Monster Archway {source}


5.Lawn Ghosts {source}


6.Halloween Luminaries {source}


7.Life-size Spider {source}


8.Frankenstein Door {source}


9.Mice Silhouettes {source}


10.Spooky Window Decor {source}


Fall Fun in Central Iowa

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Around here nothing says “fall is upon us” like a festive trip to the good ol’ pumpkin patch and apple orchard.  Lucky for us, the Des Moines metro offers plenty of selection when it comes to fun fall outings! But don’t take our word for it!  Be sure to check out a few of our faves.



1. Center Grove Orchard



We’re sure you’ll gather as many happy memories as apples. Enjoy daily hayrides, corn pool, corn maze and hay maze, farm animals, pedal tractors, weekend festivals with live entertainment, and so much more. Don’t forget the jumping pillow, rubber duck races, Three Little Pigs houses, and apple sling shot. Center Grove has the best (and only) Potty Barn anywhere in the Des Moines and Ames area! Of course, you can pick your own apples and find your perfect pumpkin.  Come hungry to enjoy all the tastes of the season such as farm fresh meals & caramel apples! Open: September through Christmas, on Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. Directions: Just north of Ankeny and south of Ames, 5 miles east of I-35 on Highway 210 (Exit 102, Cambridge). Then, north 1/8 mile on 610th Avenue. Come be part of the lively atmosphere of their beautiful Central Iowa farm! Enjoy daily hayrides, corn maze, farm animals, pedal tractors, weekend festivals with live entertainment and so much more.


2.  Uncle Bill’s Farm & Carroll’s Pumpkin Patch 



In September and October, you can look forward to picking pumpkins in the Pumpkin Patch, meandering through the Corn Maze, browsing the General Store, shopping the Green House, jumping on the Big Orange Pillow, enjoying Uncle Bill's Train Depot & Corn Bin, riding the Kid Kow Train, riding in the Maizie the Milk Cow, wheeling around the Wheel Barrow Course, playing in the Corn Bin, and refueling at Uncle Bill's Feed Bag restaurant. On weekends you can watch exciting Barn Loft entertainers, learn from baking demonstrations, shoot the Corn Cannon, see the Medieval Trebuchet (pumpkin catapult) in action and much more!


3.  Geisler Farms



Navigate your way through the Geisler Farms 10-acre corn maze. The fun zone includes swings, a tractor tire swing, rubber duck races, patio maze, table maze, pedal karts, trikes for tykes, hop-a-long ponies, corn bin and corn hole toss game. Geisler Farms features a one-of-a-kind farmer built ADA-accessible hayrack. Groups of 10 or more corn maze customers may reserve space at one of three firepits. Pumpkins, gourds, corn shocks and straw are also available for purchase.

Inside the Red Shed is admission to the corn maze and fun zone. This is where you will also find ADA-accessible restrooms, concessions, Iowa-made soy candles, homemade jams and frozen Emma Krumbee take and bake pies and apple crisp.

The Geisler pumpkin patch is conveniently located next to the parking lot on the west side of the Red Shed. There is no admission charged to visit the pumpkins.


4. Howell’s Pumpkin Patch



Howell's Pumpkin Patch offers fun and interesting sights and activities for the whole family, whether it be racing through the Pumpkin Patch to find the perfect pumpkins, or strolling the beautiful rolling 15 acres of flowers and touring the upper floor of the 1910 Barn, where the flowers are dried for Howell's Dried Florals. From a Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze to the Kiddie Koral and fun food and shopping, this fall attraction located in Cummings is well worth the quick 25 minute drive from Des Moines.


5. Wills Family Orchard



Wills Family Orchard is a family-owned orchard that was established in 1992.  Located in the rolling hills of Dallas County, this orchard is the perfect day trip.  There are many varieties of apples including Enterprise, Freedom, GoldRush, Liberty, Pristine, Jonafree, Redfree, and Williams Pride. They also offer apple butter, apple pie, honey and many other delicious products.  The U-pick pumpkin patch has become an important part of the Williamson farm.  This is where they grow the pumpkins and they can actually be cut off the vine. The on-farm store is open seasonally from the first weekend after Labor Day through October.


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!

Preparing Your Home for Fall

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As we start to say goodbye to summer, it is also 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!

Displaying blog entries 61-70 of 173