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Displaying blog entries 151-160 of 205

Easy Ways to Add Character to a Newer Home

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

It’s been said that your home reflects who you are.  But what if you’re a full-of-personality-ambiance-loving-architectural-adoring-vintage-craving homeowner with a perfectly nice, newer, somewhat characterless home that just doesn’t fit your nature?  Well, we have good news!  We want you to love where you live and feel like your home is a reflection of you, which is why we’re here with 5 fairly easy, relatively inexpensive ideas to up the charm-factor of your newer home! 

 

Upgrade Fixtures

 

While, generally small in nature, updating things like lighting, hardware, door knobs, and outlet panels, make a BIG difference.  Chandeliers and pendant light fixtures, along with dimming lights and lamps, will give that moody ambiance often overlooked in newer homes.

 

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Update Doors

 

Here is an AWESOME post from Beneath My Heart on how to replace builder-grade doors with paneled ones.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned, solid-wood, 5-panel door?  Rid yourself of the builder-grade hollow-core doors by making the switch to something with a little more style.

 

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Add Molding/Trimwork

 

Much of the character in older homes is due to the attention paid to the detailing of woodwork.  You can recreate this architectural look by adding base or crown molding, bead board or board and batten to walls, or even faux vintage ceiling beams.

 

 

 

Vinyl Decals

 

From letters and numbers to sayings and simple graphics, vinyl wall decals are an easy, extremely inexpensive way to add character and personality to a boring wall or piece of furniture.

 

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Wood Flooring

 

The look of original, restored hardwood floors is a timeless feature and can easily be recreated.

 

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Quick Winter Getaways

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Don’t let the frigid forecast keep you home this winter!  While you might not have the time, money, or ability to take a trip to the beach, there are plenty of fun getaway options that are just a quick car ride away!  So, whether you want a relaxing weekend to remember or a “kick-out-the-cabin-fever-jam-packed” adventure, we’ve got you covered!  Here are a few in-and-around Iowa ideas for your winter weather getaway!

 

1.  Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Dubuque, Iowa - Located in the Port of Dubuque, Grand Harbor is the perfect spot for enjoying this beautiful and exciting destination area.  With over 25,000 square feet of indoor waterpark and a Watersquirts Kids Club as the hub of great family activities, this location is sure to rank high among even the hard-to-please family members!

 

 

2.  Minneapolis, MN - Our neighbors to the north offer an abundance of winter activities and attractions.  Because, after all, no one does winter like Minnesotans (said in our best accent!).  Explore Minnesota is your one-stop shop for easy getaway ideas!  From the Mall Of America and skiing to dining out and nightlife, Minneapolis can’t be beat (well, maybe only by Des Moines!).

 

 

3.  Adventureland Resort - This year round destination offers a sunlit tropical courtyard, surrounded by lush plants and sparkling blue water!  Don’t let the closure of their amusement park keep you away!  This resort with three pools, a swim-up bar, hot tubs, and a restaurant is plenty of fun on its own!

 

 

4.  Ramada Tropics Resort, Des Moines, Iowa - The recently renovated Ramada Tropics Resort & Conference Center offers something for every traveler, boasting 8,000 square feet of meeting space as well as an 18,000-square-foot indoor water park, the only such amusement park of its kind in Des Moines. This family resort also offers an excellent bar and grill, plus a poolside tiki bar for adults. The kids (or kids at heart!) will love the park's three pools, pirate ship, and water slides.

 

 

5.  Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden - The Des Moines Botanical Center is one of the most popular attractions in Iowa (especially during the winter months!), providing educational, recreational, and community resources to thousands!  It is located on 14 acres along the east bank of the Des Moines River, close to downtown and is a definite “to-do” during the cold days of winter!

 

 

6.  Honey Creek Resort, Moravia, Iowa - By itself the Honey Creek Resort indoor water park (Buccaneer Bay) would be plenty of fun for a quick winter trip, but their offerings don’t stop there! There are winter rentals, hikes, tours, cooking demonstrations, games, a library, and much more!

 

 

7.  Lakeside Hotel and Casino, Osceola, Iowa - An adult adventure, for sure, Lakeside Hotel and Casino offers accommodations, gambling (duh!), dining, and plenty of entertainment.  

 

Keeping You Safe: Preventing Burglaries

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

Did you know that almost 40% of annual household burglaries in the United States are not forced entries?  This means that homes were broken into by walking, climbing, or crawling into a house, almost as easy as if the owner’s left the keys in the door! {source

 

Making your home a safe-haven does NOT have to require a lot of money or time -- just a little common sense.  Continue reading for 9 steps that you can take to ensure your home and family stay safe.

 

1.  Lock the doors.  Although this seems obvious, you would be astounded at the number of homes that are left unlocked during the day while residents are at work or at night when they are sleeping.  Be diligent and SMART -- lock the doors AND windows!  Windows should not only be shut, but locked when you are away from home.  There is no point in locking the doors if the windows are open.

 

2.  Make doors and windows visible to the street and neighbors.  Burglars will be deterred from breaking into your home if they know there is a high probability of being seen by neighbors or passersby.  Cut away shrubs and tree limbs that could hide burglars.

 

3. Keep valuables out of sight.  This goes for IN the house and OUT.  Possessions that might be of interest to intruders should be out of view from the windows (privacy curtains work, too!) and your outdoor “toys” (bikes, lawn mowers, grills, etc.) should be stored indoors or in a garage/shed.

 

4. Get rid of trash, like boxes, that may advertise, “Hey!  I got a brand new TV!” This may be as simple as breaking boxes down or disposing of them at another location.

 

5. Leave an illusion that someone is home, even when you are NOT.  This can be done by turning on outside lights at night (consider using a timer if you are out of town) or leaving music and a television on during the day. 

 

6.  Spare keys should be left with a trusted friend, family member or neighbor -- NOT hidden under the flower pot or welcome mat outside your front door.  Burglars make themselves familiar with common hiding spots for spare keys.  Use common sense and don’t make it easy!

 

7.  Secure sliding doors and windows with a strong dowel, steel bar, or 2x4.  This will ensure that even if an intruder is able to pick the lock, he or she will not be able to slide it open.

 

8.  In today’s social society, homeowners tend to share way too much!  If you are going on a vacation or just planning on being away from home for a period of time, DO NOT advertise your absence on social media platforms.  Instead, opt for posting pics and sharing about your adventures after you return home (to your non-broken into residence!).

 

9.  Finally, consider investing in a security alarm to deter burglars and alert authorities if there is a break-in. Many insurance companies offer discounts on home security systems, and we think it might be worth your effort to contact your agent.

 

See?  There is nothing ground-breaking or difficult when it comes to keeping your home safe!  Could you take all these actions and still experience a burglary?  Sure!  But we encourage you to take these necessary, commonsensical steps to prevent break-ins.  Being diligent and educated can pay off when it comes to the protection of your home and family! 

Trending: How To Create a LOVE-LY Master Bedroom

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

With Valentine’s Day just ONE day away, we thought it was the perfect time to talk about what’s happening behind the closed doors of your master bedroom.  And, of course, by “what’s happening,” we mean how your master bedroom is decorated!  

 

(Do we have your attention now?!)

 

Master bedrooms are often overlooked and ignored when it comes to updating and decorating, but we think that your bedroom deserves as much attention and care as your kitchen, living, and dining room.  After all, you DO spend approximately one-third of your life in it!  Might as well make it as comfy and as retreat-like as possible, right?

 

We think so!  Therefore, we compiled a short list of simple, low-cost ideas to makeover your master into a cozy place to crash, where you’ll be sure to have sweet dreams!

 

1.  Make it functional.  From sitting spaces and libraries to exercise areas and home offices, why not make your room work for you?  It may be just as simple as adding a small desk or comfy chair to the corner.  Regardless, seating in the bedroom can make a room feel cozy and inviting. 

 

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2.  Light it up!  Use any windows to your advantage, but also reserve the right to your privacy.  Think: Roman shades or wooden blinds that can be opened during the day to let the light shine in and then closed again at night to ensure maximum privacy and darkness for a good night’s sleep.  And don’t forget the lamps!  We’re firm believers that you can never have too many light sources!  Soft lamp light is sure to make your room feel warm and cozy.

 

Lastly, does your master have a great view that just can’t be beat?  If so, take advantage and arrange your room accordingly. 

 

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3.  Small changes can make a BIG difference!  Simply put: pick some paint and invest in a new, fresh bedding set!  This IS a place that you’re planning on spending a significant amount of time, right?  Well, then, fancy it up!  Start with finding a new sheet set, duvet, comforter, or quilt that fits your personality and decorating style, then choose a paint color to match.  Trust us -- you will be AMAZED at what these simple updates will do for your sweet dreams!

 

 

4.  Make it personal!  Your room should reflect youFrom simple pieces of personalized artwork and gorgeous photo galleries, to vinyl decor and wall treatments, your options for self expression are endless.

 

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5.  Regardless of how beautiful your bedroom is, YOU will not want to spend any extra time in there unless it is comfortable!  And, while this may be a bit more of an investment, we encourage you to collect furniture that comfy and well-crafted.  But don’t forget to look beyond the fancy furniture to pillows, blankets, rugs, and other cozy textiles.  Additions such as these are relatively low-cost and have a big impact.  So, begin there and when the time is right, start your furniture shopping with comfort and durability in mind.

 

Bottom line?  Making your master dream-worthy doesn’t have to be costly and exhausting.  Start simple, think outside the box, and work towards a comfortable and inviting space where you can rest easy and retreat when necessary. 

 

And with that, friends, we’d like to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with L-O-V-E and many sweet dreams!

2014 Des Moines Home & Garden Show

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Raise your hand if you’re in desperate need of a break from this long winter! We certainly are!

 

Well, we’re here with some good new for us all -- the Des Moines Home & Garden Show is happening now.  Like, TODAY through Sunday!  It is the perfect way to distract yourself from these cold, snowy winter days AND help you re-focus on what it is to come...warm, sunny spring and summer days conducive to home improvements and gardening goodness.

 

The 36th annual Des Moines Home & Garden Show is sure to be full of fantastically fun features, such as over 400 exhibitors, national and local celebrities (helllloooo, Ty Pennington!), and all of the latest products and services in the building and remodeling industry.  A show known for its feature gardens (designed with local celebrities), the Des Moines Home & Garden Show guarantees that attendees will not be bored!  You are sure to find “innovative products, new ideas, practical advice, and great deals in remodeling, home improvement and gardening, with hundreds of experts under one roof.”  In addition, with an increasing demand for the full range of home furnishings, interiors and outdoor lifestyle products, this exhibition is the ideal place to keep up on the latest and greatest, and to bring a little spring and summer inside during this frigid February.

 


From widows and flooring to cabinets and landscaping, and so much more, be sure to come, shop, compare and save! 

 

 

DATES & HOURS

 

 

 

 

Thursday - February 6, 2014

 

12:00 pm

-

9:00 pm

Friday - February 7, 2014

 

10:00 am

-

9:00 pm

Saturday - February 8, 2014

 

9:00 am

-

9:00 pm

Sunday - February 9, 2014

 

10:00 am

-

6:00 pm

 

 

LOCATION

Iowa Events Center

730 3rd Street

Des Moines, IA 50309

515-564-8000

www.iowaeventscenter.com

 

 

ADMISSION

Adults

$ 11.00

 

Adults (Online)

$ 9.00

 

Children Ages 7 - 12

$ 4.00

 

Children Ages 6 & Under

FREE

 

Group Tickets (Minimum of 20 tickets)

$7.00 each

 

 

 

Tickets can be purchased at the evening or in advance by visiting the website

 

What To Serve At Your Super Bowl Party

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Are you in the midst of planning a last-minute Super Bowl party, but just don’t know what to serve?  Just like the decorations, your food options are endless!  And what was supposed to be a fun get-together with your fellow friends & football fans, is now a source of stress.  Well, stress no more!  We are here to save the day...or at least give you some great crowd pleasing, easy ideas for hosting the best Big Game bash!

 

So, here we go!  Our favorite football party foods, in no particular order.

 

Make it a tailgate!  We wrote a whole post on terrific tailgating, but just to refresh your memory -- fire up the grill, serve hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and dip.  Then, pull out the yard games (weather permitting!  We’re thinking a basement or garage might be a better Iowa option...) and let your guests enjoy the low-key, lots-of-fun atmosphere.

 

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Get guests involved -- Call it a Super Bowl Party Potluck.  This doesn’t have to resemble a post-fellowship-jello-salad-in-the-church-basement potluck that you’re familiar with!  Nope, ask guests to bring their very favorite appetizer, snack, side, main dish or dessert.  As the host you can opt to provide the table settings and drinks...or not!  Your party, your rules!  Have fun with it and don’t feel bad about asking friends to contribute.  You are hosting, afterall! 

 

 

Pardon our pun, but we think a Souper Bowl could be fun!  From chicken noodle and potato to stew, chowder, and chili, a variety of warm soups would surely please even the pickiest of partiers.  And you can even up the ease by calling on your crockpot.  Prepare the soups early, then join your guests and enjoy the festivities.

 

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Walking Tacos/Nacho Bar would be as easy as it sounds! Let your guests get involved by creating their own nach/walking taco concoction.  Offer up taco meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, sour cream, salsa, and so much more.  No one will go home hungry. 

 

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We’re stating the obvious here but -- PIZZA!  Really, it can’t get any easier than picking up the phone and ordering a couple of pies!  Everyone loves pizza...almost as much as parties!

 

 

Finally, for all of you over-achievers...Go BIG!  We’re thinking this would earn you some MAJOR party points!

 

 

 

Selling Your Home In The Winter Months

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

What could be more stressful than selling a home?  Selling a home in the winter, of course! And while January might seem a little late (according to the calendar!) to be broaching this subject, us Iowans know that, realistically, we still have 3-4 more months of “winter-like” weather.  This means that there is still plenty of time to take action and get your home listed and sold before spring even decides to show up!  Here are our top tips for selling your home in the winter months!

 

Take control of the snow and ice situation.  Keeping snow and ice at bay and away from your walkways and entryways is important if you want prospective buyers to get into your home safely and with ease.  Just like mowing your lawn in the summer, shoveling and maintaining your home’s exterior in the wintertime, helps the house look well taken care of and loved. Bonus tip: Even if you’re not currently living in the home, make arrangements with a friend, neighbor, or business to do snow and ice removal.

 

Go for a warm and cozy feel.  It might mean adjusting your thermometer a bit, but warming your home before a showing will help prospective buyers be comfortable.  And while you’re going for that comfortable feel, cozy things up a bit with pillows and throws in the living spaces, and perhaps a large folded-over comforter on a bed.  Make prospective buyers see themselves living comfortably in the house.

 

Make the most of natural lighting and supplement with good interior lights.  Lighting is especially important during the winter months when our days are shorter and the sun doesn’t always shine.  Take advantage of any and all outside light by opening all window coverings and turning on all (yes, all!) the lights in the house.  Again, we’re going for coziness here!  Bonus tip: Ensure that all light fixtures are clean and bulbs are burning bright.

 

Keep the windows clean.  Daylight during the winter can draw attention to dirt and grime that otherwise might go unnoticed.  Keep a prospective buyer’s focus on the home, not it’s state of cleanliness, by washing the windows.  If this isn’t a project you feel comfortable tackling, hire it out!  Trust us, a good window cleaning is worth the investment.

 

Make your home pleasing to the nose, not just the eyes.  Capitalize on our strong sense of smells, and feelings that those elicit by making sure that your home has a pleasant aroma -- without going overboard.  It can be as simple as baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies or burning a candle a couple hours before a showing (just remember to turn off the oven and/or blow out the candle!).  We’ve blogged about the Stinky Side Of Real Estate before and encourage you to re-read that to re-freshen your memory AND home prior to your first showing or open house!

 

While there may be fewer buyers during the wintertime, generally, the ones that do exist are serious and have a some sense of urgency.  Capitalize on this by making your home stand out from the others with just a little effort and preparation.  And, as always, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, let us help!  Contact us anytime!

 

Steve Hidder, Broker/Owner
Ankeny Real Estate Service
219 SW 3rd Street
Ankeny, IA 50023
(515)964-3662

www.ankenyrealestateservice.com

New Years Resolutions For Homeowners

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

● Have your ductwork sealed and insulated.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Preparing your home for fall.

 

Preparing your home for spring {here} and {here}.

Q & A with an Ankeny Educator: Meet Mrs. Delaney

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

We're back this week with another round of questions and answers from one of Ankeny's finest educators, Mrs. Ashley Delaney!  You all know how we feel about the amazing people teaching, leading, and influencing our community's students and Mrs. Delaney is no exception!  Won't you join us in taking a minute to meet this dedicated wife, mom, and teacher?

Name:  Ashley Delaney

Position:  ELP teacher at Southview

Number of years in education:  11

Years taught in Ankeny:  2

Family:  Brett, Brynn (3), and Kiernan (1)

Hobbies:  Food is my passion.  I love to cook and garden.  There is something lovely about eating what you grow and appreciating nature’s ability provide nourishment.  I also enjoy reading with my children and outdoor activities.

 

What is the best thing about teaching in Ankeny?

The best part about teaching in Ankeny is the people.  I thoroughly enjoy my colleagues and the families I work with. 

 

What gets you excited about the direction that Ankeny schools are heading?

I sincerely believe teachers want every student to learn and grow daily.  They work tirelessly to develop learning opportunities for students that are developmental appropriate and interesting.  The community rallies around these passionate professionals to help make this possible.  It is wonderful to see families, business, and other stakeholders work with educators to make our schools outstanding.

 

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is keeping up with my students.  Day-to-day what I am teaching depends on what students need.  One day I could be extending a Physics concept and the next I could work with analyzing poetry.  Their needs and outstanding abilities never cease to impress me.

 

What motivates you?

Being a part of the development of a child is the greatest honor.  I believe it truly does take a village to raise a child into a well-rounded, empathetic citizen of the world.  As a parent, I want my children’s teachers to feel the same way.  I treat my students as if they are my own.  Ultimately, I want all of them to understand their intelligence and education doesn’t make them above the world, it makes them responsible for it.

Home Fire Safety Tips For The Winter Months

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

 

Cozy winter fires are the best, aren’t they?  Well, at least when they’re contained to a fireplace!  In the midst of these frigid temperatures, we are all spending more time inside, which is why we want YOU to be informed with ways you can prevent {non-fireplace} flames in your homes. Read on for fire prevention tips and tricks AND for a downloadable/printable checklist from the National Fire Prevention Association.

 

First of all, plain and simple common sense and awareness is the key to keeping flames at bay.  While these ideas are elementary in principle, the impact of follow-through is anything but!  Here are Ankeny Real Estate Service’s top tips for your winter fire prevention:

 

1. Heaters need space!  Anything producing heat (furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater) should have ample room to do their job.  The NFPA recommends a distance of at least 3 feet between a heater and anything flammable (newspaper, kindling, firewood, clothing, upholstered furniture, bedding, etc.)  Also, take care to never use a space heater with a worn cord or one without the automatic shut-off function, should the heater get tipped over.

 

2. Keep a close eye on those cooktops and NEVER use your stove or oven to heat your home.  Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires?  It’s true!  And the perfect reason to never walk away from the stove when cooking.  Always turn off your burner before stepping away.

 

3.  Prepare your fireplace before use, then be sure to maintain and use it appropriately. Do not let dry leaves and needles pile up on your roof, then be sure the spark arrestor on your chimney is in place.  Furthermore, fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected yearly. Fireplaces should have a steady screen that prevents flying sparks.  When cleaning out your fireplace, hot (and even just warm!) ashes need to be put in an approved metal container, with an airtight lid.

 

4.  Extension cords. Thousands of fires yearly are attributed to faulty electrical cords. Cords should be checked for cracks and frays.  Additionally, never place extension cords in front of heaters, fireplaces, or any place they could fall onto a heat source.

 

5.  Candles. Because of the open-flamed nature of candles special care needs to be taken when using and handling these.  See the National Fire Prevention Association’s guide to candle safety {here}.  Summary:

● Don’t leave candles near combustibles.

● Don’t fall asleep with a candle burning.

● Burn candles in a candle holder or jar, never directly on a flammable surface.

 

6.  Install Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms. Detectors should be installed on every level of the home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.  Smoke alarms have, approximately, a 7-year life span, and batteries should be changed twice yearly (daylight savings times serve as great reminders).

 

7.  Safety escape route. Your family should develop and practice a home escape plan.  These plans should include two ways out of every room and an outside meeting spot. Consider investing in AND learning how to use a fire escape safety ladder.

 

For additional information on home fire prevention, be sure to visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/prevent-home-fires.

 

AND, don’t forget to click {here} for your own printable checklist from the NFPA to prepare your home for heater season.

Displaying blog entries 151-160 of 205