Real Estate Information

Ankeny Real Estate Blog

Ankeny Real Estate Service

Blog

Displaying blog entries 71-80 of 201

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!

Tips for At-Home Tailgating

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Saturday is THE BIG GAME here in the great state of I-O-W-A. 

Iowa v. Iowa State. Hawks v. Cyclones. Black and gold v. cardinal and gold. Friends v. friends. Neighbor v. neighbor. 

 

On game day, fans from across the state will be tailgating in preparation for the match-up.  And while, the lucky (or unlucky??) fans will be celebrating in Ames, the majority of us will be tailgating from the comfort of our homes.  We want to help you make the most of your at-home celebration!  Aside from hosting our own, sharing tips for your tailgate is the next best thing.  So, let’s get started! 

 

We believe that hosting an at-home-tailgate, starts with focus on the 4 F’s: Friends. Fans. Fun. Food (duh!).

 

Friends. Invite them. Family, neighbors, co-workers, college buddies, and childhood pals -- anyone that enjoys a little healthy competition AND has even an ounce of team spirit.  After all, what’s a party without people?

Fans. Encourage your guests to support their team in any way possible.  This means team apparel, face painting, car decorating, and flags.  When it comes to showing your support, we firmly believe that there’s no such thing as going overboard!  And don’t forget to decorate.  Use your team colors and do it up right!


Fun. Not everyone will be glued to the television for each play of the game, and even those who are, will need something to keep them entertained during halftime.  From cornhole and ladders, to a pick-up game of backyard ball or fantasy football trivia, have a little something for everyone. Look at it this way -- at least one team’s fans will need the distraction.


Food (& drinks!). While this one might be a no-brainer, it is {in our opinion} the most important part of your tailgate get-together! You must feed your team! But we suggest keeping it simple! Win over your guests by combining appetizers and desserts with grill favorites.  Asking your guests to bring some grub to share ensures that there will be something for everyone AND it makes the meal planning that much easier.  It is also a good idea to be mindful of the weather -- no one wants to be sipping on hot soup on a 90 degree day.  Likewise, soups, hot chocolate, cider, and baked potatoes are all good ideas for tailgating in frigid temps. No matter the weather, be sure to plan ahead and keep it simple.  When it’s up to you to tackle the task of game day food, the last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around the kitchen at the time of kick off.


Besides being a good excuse for a party, tailgating is a great way to bond with your friends and enjoy the game together. These four tips can help you throw a pre-game party that will be the next best thing to being there in person.  And, take it from us, being prepared, is the best way to ensure that all fans have fun, regardless of the outcome of the game.


Best of luck to both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones.  We are proud to live in a state with such a rich, albeit competitive, football history. 

Trending: Home Gyms

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you’re in to exercising, you know that the hardest part of a workout is simply showing up! Making time to go to the gym AND finding the extra cash to do so can be hard! The simple solution to the things holding us back from killer, consistent workouts? At-home gyms! Nothing beats the convenience of cardio, weight training, tabata, HIIT, yoga, or Pilates in the privacy of your own home!

Here’s what’s trending in the world of at-home gyms. As you can see, a large, dedicated space for a home gym is not always a must and a smart, well organized, functional home gym is a wonderful way to ensure that you don’t miss out on any of your workout routines.

 

{source}

 

{source}

 

{source}

 

{source}

 

{source}

 

{source}

 

{source}

 


{source}

 

Back To School Home Organization

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If there is ever a time to get yourself, your home, and your family organized, it is the back-to-school season!  We know that organization is the key to stress-free school days.  And we want you to start the school days off right, so here are Ankeny Real Estate Service’s tips to make the back-to-school transition as easy as ABC.

 

 

1. Make a “drop-space.”  Using cubbies, hooks, and baskets, designate an area for coats, shoes, and backpacks.  Keep family member’s belongings divided, decluttered, and off the floor.  Having a space for these things means that there will never be a frantic morning search for the missing shoes or MIA backpack.

 

 

2. Adopt a system for school papers.  As a general rule, there are two types of papers that come home from school -- the ones that need immediate attention and the ones you’ll need for future reference. Both kinds need a space to land! For those that need your immediate attention, why not adopt some sort of “in” and “out” mailbox? Stacked mail sorters/desk organizers would be great for this purpose.


{Source}

 

 

3. Make use of a family calendar.  For this project, we encourage you to think big and be diligent! A large calendar, in a central location, color-coded by person, with each family member’s activities, and updated frequently is sure to keep your hectic days organized.  Whether it be a store-bought fridge-mounted variety, or a DIY/customized project (I’m thinking chalk paint, cork board, magnetic paint, or vinyl clings!) a family calendar for everyone to reference will keep you coming and going in the right direction!

 

{Source}

4. Develop a homework station for your kinds to make working on school projects painless and peaceful. As parents, we care about the kind of learning experience our children have in the classroom AND it is just as important to give them the right study environment at home, too.  A quiet, undisturbed, dedicated, and fully stocked location for studying will help kids be able to focus and be productive! Ensure that your homework station has everything your child will need to finish a project -- paper, pencils, colors, pens, erasers, markers, staplers, scissors, etc. 

 

{Source}

 

5.  Finally, consider placing a memo board or some type of message center near the door your family uses the most frequently.  This is a great place to leave messages, reminders, and kind notes. 


{Source}

 

In general, kids either love or hate going back to school, but an organized home and daily routines will benefit everyone when school schedules are tight and time is of the essence.  Getting organized now will free up time to attend activities, events or dinners and downtime with the family.  Not only do we love helping our clients find homes, but we also like seeing those homes run well, and the people who live in them enjoy life!

Get Organized in the Garage!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

We get it – summer is coming to a close and your garage has been worked HARD! There’s a good chance it has become a dumping ground for misplaced objects and miscellaneous items, in the chaos of hot days, late nights, and lots of outdoor activities. 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. 

source

 

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.

2015 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 Carrie Underwood and REBA to The Fray and Casting Crowns, 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!

 

 

Ankeny Unplugged 2015

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Get ready, Ankeny! ANKENY UNPLUGGED is happening this Saturday and you’re going to want to be there!   

 

 

Featuring hot local and regional musical acts, Ankeny Unplugged offers a unique opportunity for friends and neighbors to come together.  This one-of-a-kind mini music fest has thought of it all -- good music, delicious food vendors, unique arts and crafts, refreshing beverages, sweet confections, a free bicycle valet, and more!

 

So, what more do you need to know?  Here are a few more details:

 

● This year’s concert has a new format! It is now a ONE day, alllll day festival at the Bandshell at Wagner Park (410 West First Street).

● Doors open at 11:00 am and bands take the stage from noon until 9pm.

● The event is open to all ages, and tickets are $15 at the door. Children 12 and under are free when admitted with a paying adult.

●  Ankeny Unplugged is organized by the Ankeny Jaycees, and sponsored by The City of Ankeny.

●  This year’s musical lineup can be found at the event’s website (http://ankenyunplugged.com/) and is going to be rocking! 

 

On a personal note, I recommend dressing in layers, bringing bag chairs and/or blankets, and leaving your own food, drinks, and cigarettes at home!

Now that you know the details, have time to otherwise clear your calendar, AND have been enticed by the promise of awesome entertainment, good food, and a fun time with friends, you have no excuse to miss what is sure to be a great time!

Inexpensive ideas for DIY Upgrades

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

You don’t need a big budget to give your home a little boost! A little time, energy, and a few dollars are often the only investment you need! We’ve collected 10 ideas for your inspiration!

 

  1. Paint those unsightly linoleum floors!

 

Source

 

  1. Take baseboards from small to tall!

Source

 

  1. Give your kitchen an updated look with peel and stick flooring for a new backsplash!


Source

 

  1. Give that garage an easy upgrade!

Source

 

  1. Board and batten your walls!

Source

 

  1. Cool-ify your curtains with paint!

Source

 

  1. Freshen the front door with a fun color!

Source

 

  1. Frame a boring bathroom mirror.

Source

 

  1. Add crown molding to a bookcase!


Source

 

  1. Let window boxes beautify your exterior!


Source

Home Swimming Pool Safety

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

In the midst of these sweltering summer days, we believe that it is especially important to be mindful of swimming pool safety.  And while Iowa isn’t necessarily known for it’s home swimming pool popularity, it is certainly a trend on the rise from the real estate perspective.  For this reason, it is crucial that homeowners remain diligent when it comes to maintaining a safe environment around their swimming pool.

 

 

We have put together a list of home swimming pool safety steps for homeowners in hopes to inform and educate, thus preventing a potential drowning tragedy. 

 

● Invest in and make use of a lockable safety cover for your pool.

● Secure pool area using a four-foot or taller fence, with self-closing and self-latching gates.

● Consider the use of pool and gate alarms that sounds when children go near the pool.

● Drain and suction covers should be checked on a frequent and regular basis. Defective equipment can lead to accidental entrapment and drowning.

● Pool and hot tub water should be kept clean and clear by maintaining proper chemical levels, circulation, and filtration. Water should be tested regularly to avoid spreading of disease.

● Keep life-saving floatation devices on a pool hook close-by to aid in emergency rescue situations.

● A first-aid kit (including scissors for cutting hair or clothing that may be caught in a drain, a charged portable phone for calling 911, and a floatation device), should be accessible and well-labeled. 

● Clearly mark water depths and have “no diving” signs visible.

● It may seem like it goes without saying, but children should always, always, always be under active supervision if they are in or near the pool.

● Additionally, children and adults should be taught basic water safety.

● Learn to perform adult and child CPR and keep those skills updated regularly.

● Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life vests.

 

Nothing brings pool fun to a screeching halt faster than a water emergency. At Ankeny Real Estate Service, we take the safety of you and your family very seriously.  Therefore, we encourage you to go the extra mile this summer by implementing all of these steps to ensure a safer pool experience.  

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.

 

Displaying blog entries 71-80 of 201