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Preparing Your Home For Spring, Part 2: The Exterior Edition

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

As promised, this week we are continuing our series on preparing your home for the spring season.  Our last post focused on inside-related chores to spruce up and organize your house in time for spring, while this week’s blog is going to provide you with some tips and tricks to get the outside of your home in tip-top shape.  We’ll call it The Exterior Edition

Undeniably, your home’s exterior is the primary victim of winter’s harsh elements.  And it is for this reason that we should all focus a little time and attention on the outside of our houses in preparation for spring and all the weather-related conditions that come with it!  Keep reading for some simple ideas on what you can do to prepare your pad for the warmer days ahead. 

● Begin by walking around your home to examine the caulking of windows and doors, as well as the weather stripping that surrounds those entrances. Old, dry, cracked caulking and dysfunctional weather stripping should be replaced.

● Next, (safely!) get on the roof to check flashing, caulking, and shingles in preparation for spring storms.  This might seem like a lot of work, but in the end, leak prevention and making proper roof repairs will be worth the effort!  Check specifically for broken or missing shingles, as well as, rust and mold. 

● Now while you’re already up on the roof, take the time to clean out gutters and downspouts. Go the extra mile and check for proper drainage by running a hose on the roof and watching where the water flows. If leaks are found, caulking or epoxy can be used to seal it once the area dries. 

● Spring is the ideal time to pressure wash your siding to clean it and prevent mold formation. 

● While you have that pressure washer handy, use it to clean walkways and other concrete areas after removing any debris, leaves, or tree limbs.

● Finally, begin thinking ahead to any landscaping or planting plans you might have and get prepared.  Replace old, cracked hoses and pull out any gardening tools that were stored over winter.  That way, as soon as that warm weather arrives for good, you’ll be well on your way to a perfectly manicured yard!

Your home (both inside and out!) should be a place to relax and enjoy the (soon-to-be) spring weather.  By preparing the inside of your home for spring AND following these simple steps to get the outside in shape too, you and your house will be ready to soak up that sun in no time!

Preparing Your Home For Spring, Part 1: The Interior

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Could it be?!  Is spring really finally here?  I can’t say for sure, but whether we’re ready or not, ball games are in full-swing, the birds have reemerged, and kids are counting down the days until summer vacation.  If you’re anything like me, as the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer, you get the itch to clean and freshen up your home – both inside and out.  Today we’re going to talk a little about what kinds of things you can do to prepare your home’s interior for the change in seasons.  Then, next week we’ll follow up with ideas for freshening up your home’s exterior in time for spring.

Maintaining your home’s interior and preparing it for spring may require a bit of time, some organization, and a little work, but follow these easy steps and you’ll be ready to enjoy the sunshine in no time!

Spring Interior To-Do List:

  • HVAC maintenance.  Call on a professional now while the days aren’t yet scorching to ensure that your AC unit is functioning properly AND without using more energy than necessary.  Now is also the time to replace filters and make note on the calendar to continue to do so monthly.
  • Inspect caulking around windows and doors.  Often times these openings can separate ever so slightly from their frames in harsh winter temperatures.  A quick application of external silicone caulking or sealant can remedy this without much hassle.
  • Change the direction of your ceiling fans.  During the summer months, it is ideal to have your fans blowing cool air down to give the room a nice breeze and to feel cooler.  And the opposite is true in the winter.
  • Inspect and clean your clothes dryer vent to make sure it is clear of lint and functions properly.  A clogged vent can result it warm air being blown back into the laundry room, which in turn, eventually raises the temperature of the entire house.
  • Spring clean!  Now is the time to dust, mop, vacuum, organize, and purge your home of unwanted and unused items.  Wash linens, shower curtains, children’s toys, blankets, and pillows.  And don’t forget the windows, blinds, air vents, fans, and the fireplace from winter!

Your home goes through many changes as it ages and endures seasonal changes.  Not only is it rewarding to prepare for spring, but NECESSARY as well!  So, what are you waiting for?  Get busy!  Warmer temperatures are on the way!


by Ankeny Real Estate Service

I'd like to share this article from the Chicago Tribune, by Mary Ellen Podmolik

Home Sales Up

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

February home sales were up 19.4 percent from last year, reports the Iowa Association of Realtors® (IAR). The strong showing made February the eighth month in a row of increased sales. The IAR’s February 2012 Housing Trends Report shows a total of 1,861 homes sold/closed in February 2012, while 1,558 homes sold/closed in February 2011. Twenty-nine of Iowa’s 44 local Realtor® boards across the state reported increases in number of sales last month. In addition, there were 2,283 pending sales in February 2012, up 19.8 percent from last year, when there were 1,905 pending sales in the month. Prices were down slightly last month. The median sale price in February was $105,000, representing a 4.5 percent decrease from last year when the median sale price was $110,000. Twenty-five local Realtor® boards reported increases in median sale price from last February. The average days on the market was 115 days, the same as last year at this time. Twenty local boards showed a decrease in the average number of days on the market.  The statewide inventory at the end of the month was 19,228 homes, down 9.3 percent from last year.  There were 4,271 new active listings in February 2012 and 3,955 new active listings in February 2011, an increase of 8 percent. “Sales continue to be strong.

There was positive movement in much of the state and there’s some real excitement out there in the market,” says Dale Gross, president of the Iowa Association of Realtors®. “I think there were more sales in January and February than what’s typical for this time of year for a few reasons. The weather was unseasonably warm, which is great for house hunting, the economy continues to show signs of recovery, and interest rates are still incredibly low. These conditions make for a good time to buy. If buyers are on the fence, I’d really encourage them to make a move now and talk to a local Realtor®,” says Gross.

The above information was published by Iowa Association of Realtors®, May 15, 2012

With the economy showing signs of improvement, interest rates still at all-time lows, and the home values are still low, it's still a great time to buy!  If you're selling, homes are moving, so it's a great time for you as well!  Contact us at Ankeny Real Estate Service today!


Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Steve Hidder

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates go up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 201-205 of 205