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News at Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, Realtors®


Welcome Mikki!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Please welcome Mikki Bown to our Northpark office in Johnston/Urbandale! Say hello to Mikki at (515) 770-3382 or mikki.bown@cbdsm.com!

6 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Before finalizing your home buying process, a home inspector should look over the property you want to buy to ensure that everything is in good shape before you make the purchase official.

A real estate agent may be able to help you find a qualified home inspector in the area. As a buyer, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lists several questions you should ask.

  1. What will this inspection actually cover?
    Before the inspection gets underway, HUD recommends it’s important to go over exactly what will and will not be covered in the home inspection. If you have any specific questions or items you want the inspector to check, mentioning this to them in advance is helpful.
  2. How much experience do you have with residential inspection?
    HUD says most home inspectors should be able to tell you their history in the business to show how experienced they are, although newer home inspectors can also be qualified in the field. While it may be useful for the inspector to have a construction background, HUD notes that it’s important that they be specially trained in looking over residential properties.
  3. How much will it cost?
    The cost of a home inspection can vary significantly based on the region, size of the home and a number of other factors, but typical costs range between $300 and $500.
  4. Can the home buyer be present?
    Being present during a home inspection can be a valuable experience as the inspector may be able to give answers to any simple maintenance questions you may have. If the inspector says you cannot be present, it should raise a red flag about his or her qualifications.
  5. Can you do any repairs based on the home inspection?
    If any minor problems are discovered during the inspection, you may want to know if the inspector can fix them. HUD indicates many states or trade groups don’t allow inspectors to fix problems they might find because it could be a conflict of interest.
  6. When will I get the home inspection report?
    Most inspectors will provide a sample home inspection report so you can make sure you understand what you’re getting. Usually the full report is available within 24 hours of the initial inspection, which should allow plenty of time for a thorough review before the closing.

How To Install a Pet Door

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The first and most important step in determining whether a pet door is right for your home is to consider what issues might come from your pet’s new-found freedom. For instance, does your dog or cat have a tendency to run away? Or, do you live on a busy street? Will your neighbors mind if your pet is outside unattended? Keep all of these things in mind before installing a free pass to the outdoors. Installing a pet door may require first putting up a fence around your yard to ensure your pet’s safety. Whether you opt for a physical fence or an invisible one, a barrier will give you piece of mind that your furry friend won’t get lost or hurt when outdoors.

Choose the Right Door

After you’ve addressed your pet’s outdoor safety, you’ll need to determine the kind of pet door that is right for your home. Just as there are many things to consider when choosing the right front door for your home, there are plenty of elements to consider when selecting a pet door.

A pet door can be installed in the wall, storm or screen door, garage door or sliding glass door. Cost of installation and complexity of the project varies with each option, storm door installation being the most cost-effective.

Before making your pet door selection, you’ll need to take your pet’s measurements. Consider that your pet will duck his head when entering and exiting, so you’ll want to find a door that is slightly taller than your pet’s shoulder height and at least two inches wider than his body. Creating a mock door out of cardboard is an easy way to test your measurements.

Ready to install? Hire a professional, or follow a step-by-step guide from your local home improvement store.

Consider Resale

While 65 percent of American households included at least one pet, according to the Humane Society, some may not be ready to commit to a permanent pet door for resale purposes. If a temporary option is best for your home, consider opting to install the pet door in your storm door or screen door, so it can easily be removed or replaced should you decide no longer need it.

10 Things in Your Bathroom You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean

Thursday, June 22, 2017

If you’ve showered yourself with good intentions about doing some spring cleaning, there are a few spots you don’t want to miss.

Routine bathroom cleaning means hitting the fixtures and the floor with a good once-over. That’s a terrific start, but for a deeper clean, consult this checklist for 10 things you don’t want to skip.

Bath Mat

It would be great if only clean feet hit the clean bath mat. Since the whole family is in and out of the bathroom all day long, it’s pretty likely your bath mat needs attention. Start by giving it a safety check to see if it is losing its no-slip backing or if it no longer lies flat, as both are trip hazards. Most bath mats can go in the washing machine. Some can be air-dried and others put in the dryer. Check your rug’s tag and follow manufacturer directions.

Organizing Tip: When you buy a new bath mat for a frequently used bathroom, buy two. This way you can routinely throw one in the wash and reach for a clean one to put down in its place.

Shower Curtain

Shower curtains don’t need to be cleaned often, but spring cleaning is the perfect time to take care of this task. Most fabric curtains can be taken down and washed—again, check the tag and follow the directions. As for waterproof liners, inspect them to see if you find mold and mildew forming along seams or areas that often stay wet. Replace with a fresh liner or remove the soiled one and clean it.

Toothbrush

It might be time to toss that toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should switch to a new toothbrush every three to four months or when bristles become frayed. The ADA does not recommend any cleaning methods as a substitute for a new brush.

Organizing Tip: Buy a multi-pack of toothbrushes so you have extras available as soon as you need them.

Toothbrush Holder

The spot where you store your toothbrush typically has an accumulation of drippings and toothpaste. Use some hot soapy water to clean your holder. A small scrubbing brush is good for reaching into tight spaces.

Hairbrush

Cleaning your hairbrush and combs should be a regular task. After all, dirty hair and a buildup of products is not something you want to brush back into your clean locks. Clean your brushes by first removing any hair from the bristles. (A comb and a pair of scissors are helpful with this task.) Then shampoo your hairbrush in warm water, rinse well and allow to dry.

Loofah

You may not have given much thought to the pores in your loofah, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, they can be a breeding ground for bacteria that can even lead to skin infections. They recommend to weekly soak it in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. The Clinic also recommends replacing your loofah every three to four weeks.

 Trashcan

Grab the bathroom trashcan and banish the germs. Give it a good cleaning inside and out. Allow it to dry well. Add a liner for easy maintenance.

Vents

From floor vents to bathroom fans, these often-forgotten spots definitely need a spring cleaning. Those on the floor have dirt and hair fall into them, while ones on the ceiling can collect dust. To clean them, first remove the vent cover. Then use the brush attachment to your vacuum to clean the top and underside of the cover. Use your nozzle attachment to vacuum up debris, then replace the clean cover. For fan vents, a wet sponge is useful for collecting dust that has accumulated on the cover.

 Drain Stoppers

Why wait for a clog? Now is the perfect time to fish out any accumulation of hair and prevent buildup. Remove the drain stoppers from your sink and shower. Give them a scrub and return them to the drain.

Medicine Cabinet Clutter

Do a bit of spring organizing and reclaim storage space by purging your drawers and cabinets.

Jose Zuniga of MakeSpace recommends sorting through everything in your medicine cabinet and vanity drawers. “Throw out anything that’s expired, including old medication. Only keep the items that you use on a regular basis, such as your toiletries and grooming supplies, in your bathroom,” he says.

“Now that you’re left with only the items you use on a regular basis, look to your walls. They’re prime real estate for storing your bathroom supplies without hogging any floor or counter space. For the extra items that you don’t use often—like first aid supplies and spare rolls of toilet paper—put them in a labeled basket or clear storage container and store it on a closet shelf,” he recommends.

As you organize, give shelves and drawers a quick wipe to ensure you’re starting with a clean slate.

Armed with a fresh eye for attention to detail, your bathroom will not only look clean, but it will feel clean, too.

Welcome Elizabeth!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Please welcome Elizabeth Zamora to our Historic East Village Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, Realtors - Metro Office!

Elizabeth is an experienced agent, fluent in Spanish and ready to help you buy or sell! Give her a call at (515) 229-7723 or email her at elizabeth.zamora@cbdsm.com.

 

 

 

 

Word of Advice Wednesday- Buyers and Sellers Markets

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mike Clark explains the Buyers and Sellers markets. Which one are we in right now and what does that mean for you? He'll explain in today's Word of Advice Wednesday!

Five Tips on How to Sell Your Home in a Competitive Market

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What does it take to sell a home in a competitive market – a fresh coat of paint or a kitchen overhaul? Lowering the asking price or offering incentives? From cosmetic to strategic, smart sellers can take advantage of a few simple tips to get the most out of their properties. Here are five suggestions on how to help secure a “sold” sign:

Price Point is Paramount When getting ready to put a home on the market, determining the right listing price is the number one most important element in the home selling process. After you have carefully chosen an agent, the trust you have established will come into play immediately. Have those tough discussions with your agent about where to price your home. Make certain you understand how the agent has arrived at the price, including how previous sales and current homes on the market make an impact. If necessary, jump in the car with your agent and see some of the homes on the market in the area. This will provide first hand knowledge on homes that are available in your neighborhood.

Appeal to Your Audience Work with your agent to determine how to get your home to stand out. Providing incentives is a great way to draw in potential home buyers, and monetary bonuses don’t just have to come from negotiation of the listing price. Sellers can also choose to contribute to closing costs, or conduct pre-home inspections, which can comfort potential home buyers in knowing that the property is in top shape.

Leave a Great First Impression Everyone talks about curb appeal, but a first impression is truly lasting. Remember, your agent is your trusted advisor. They will know the necessary updates and upkeep you should make to get the home ready for showings. But some of this is fairly easy and the front door is particularly important. This is the area where a buyer will first step up to a home – and likely wait for a moment providing time to look around. Do this ahead of time, stand directly in the front door and look up and around at the home from all angles – cobwebs that have not been noticed in years could be the first thing greeting a potential home buyer, so it’s important for this area to give a great first impression.

Everything is in the Visual Don’t underestimate the power of visuals in marketing your home. The National Association of Realtors found that, more than 90 percent of home buyers begin their search online. Your agent may push hard for you to have the home prepared for vivid pictures and video of the property that can be posted on websites.

Hit the Right Note with all Five Senses When a buyer comes to look at a home they want the full experience. To help a home stand out, your agent may ask you to focus on appealing to all five senses. Small and inexpensive upgrades to the home such as getting the walls painted, de-cluttering and making minor improvements to the outdoor landscape. In terms of “touch,” remember that buyers aren’t just going to look – they’ll be turning on your faucets and opening closets, so make sure closets are clean and organized. When it comes to making a home smell good, many agents prefer the smell of baked goods rather than fresh flowers or air fresheners which can be overwhelming. All of this is being done to allow the buyer to properly visualize living in the home.

Top 12 Packing Tips to Get It Done Over the Weekend

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Guest post by
Houzz Contributor, Aly Finkelstein

Packing for a big move does not have to take months. This may come as a shock, but in many homes, it can be done in a weekend or less. I’m speaking from experience on this one. The last time my family of four moved, we did it in a weekend. I’ve also helped many clients tackle the same challenge.

Here are my top 12 tips on how to make the packing process quick and a little less painful.

1. Do not panic! Your nerves can get the best of you if you let them, so take a deep breath and make a list. This list should include what needs to be packed, what supplies should be purchased (such as moving boxes and tape) and in what room order you are going to pack.

This giant list will be your guide as you make quick work of packing the house. Having everything on the list can help you keep your brain focused on the job at hand, and it will feel good to check each task off.

2. Purge your belongings. On your giant to-do list, the first order of business is to purge. Get rid of all the things you can before you begin to pack.

Take a garbage bag and walk through the entire house. It is truly freeing to get rid of things you don’t need. Throw away expired medicine, broken toys, puzzles with missing pieces and other things you’ll never use again. Make sure everything that remains is a full set or in great condition.

3. Pack kitchen breakables. Your glasses and dishes in the kitchen require some additional attention, so start the packing process with these items. When you are packing away these breakables, save time and money by using soft materials you already own as packing supplies.

Grab your beach towels and large bathroom towels first. Put them at the bottom of your boxes to absorb any shock or shifting that may take place during the move.

Next, grab other towels, linens, dishrags and even T-shirts. You can wrap the fragile items in these pieces, which means packing that section of the house will take less time later.

Tip: Now that you have moving boxes getting full, take a minute to label each box with a number using a permanent marker. Then, start a list of the numbered boxes and their contents. This is essential and will save you precious time later in your new home when you need to quickly find something.

 

4. Leave dresser drawers full. Save yourself some time and leave your clothes in the drawers. You or your professional haulers can remove the drawers from the dresser and move the drawers with their contents that way. An individual drawer stuffed with clothes stays organized and is easier to move than a filled dresser.

5. Clear out the closet. Clothes from your closet can easily be moved into wardrobe boxes, which come with rods for hanging things up. You just put the clothes in, seal up the box and then unpack and hang the clothes in your new closet after the move.

If you have shelves with sweaters, sweatpants and shoes, pack them into medium-sized boxes. Make sure you label the boxes and add them to your ongoing list.

Tip: Use an extra shoe box or a clear container for the odds and ends — such as buttons, safety pins and old letters — you’ll come across while you pack the closet. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

6. Take care of valuables. Pack jewelry and other valuables carefully. These items are fragile and sentimental. The last thing you want to do is tangle necklaces or lose earrings. I love using pill stackers or snack bags to sort jewelry and keep everything safe.

Tip: Do not put these items in the moving truck. Instead, keep them with you in your vehicle as you go to your new home.

7. Stack the toys. Toys tend to be made from tough materials that don’t break easily. You can pack them into bins or boxes and then stack them into one larger wardrobe box. I’ve found that having the toys packed always brings a huge sense of relief for parents.

This method also will keep all the toys together, and the kids will be happy to pull them all out again in their new home.

8. Box up bedrooms. Now you can concentrate on accessories and personal items. Similar items should go in the same box: shoes in one box, books in another and so on until everything has a box.

Tip: If any of these items are fragile, grab clothes out of the dresser and use them as packing material.

9. Remove everything from the walls. The best way to pack wall art is with towels and flat pieces of cardboard. Wrap each photograph or piece of art in towels and tape the towel around the piece so that the towel stays in place. Then you can place wrapped items in a box and put a piece of flat cardboard between them for added protection. Cut-up wardrobe boxes are a great source for large, flat pieces of cardboard.

If your large wall art doesn’t fit in a box, you can carefully stack the pieces in the moving truck or your vehicle and use flat pieces of cardboard as dividers.

Tip: Small art and wall decor can be packed similarly to your fragile kitchen items.

10. Keep boxing until you’re done. If you are at this step, you’ve already accomplished a lot. Now you just need to finish. Keep motivated with good music, good food and good friends, if they are willing to help.

The trickier parts of the home have been addressed, so now you just need to keep going into each room and putting the contents in boxes. Keep in mind any previous tricks, such as wrapping breakables in clothing.

11. Do a final check. When you’re done packing, congratulate yourself and call in friends. Order pizza for everyone, and then ask your friends to walk around and see whether you’ve missed anything. Sometimes another set of eyes can be invaluable.

If you find anything, put it in a box. It’s totally OK to have miscellaneous boxes as long as their contents are labeled on your box list. You may find that the items that are last to be packed are the things that didn’t fit into other categories. Ask yourself whether you really want these items before packing them away.

Make sure each box is taped shut, has a number and is listed on your master move list. If all the loose items are packed and the boxes are closed, you’re officially done.

12. Hire help, if needed. While you can pack in a weekend, it might not work for you every time. If you are truly in a time pinch and feel that the cost would be worth it, consider hiring the movers to pack you.

3 Important Tips for Welcoming Home Your Newly Adopted Dog

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bringing home your newly adopted dog is always an adjustment for everyone involved. It’s exciting and it’s only normal for you to have concerns about your new pet’s transition into life at home. Here are 3 important tips to help you welcome your new family member into your home.

1. Do Your Research

Prior to your new dog arriving at your home, plan out how you will train your pet and make sure all of your family members are on the same page. Providing positive reinforcement techniques is a great way to help your dog learn. 

Do your research on the various food options for your new dog and how many times a day he or she should eat. Having these decisions made in advance will help make the transition easier on everyone involved.

 

2. Show Compassion

Your newly adopted dog may display signs of anxiety in the first few days or weeks of being at your home. It may be hard for you to experience, because you’ll be so excited about your new furry family member and wonder if the feeling isn’t mutual. Don’t worry–this adjustment period is totally normal and only temporary! Speak in a gentle, soothing voice to your dog and make sure to show lots of love. Once your pet understands you are there to love and protect, he’ll feel much more comfortable and start to see how great his new home (and family) really is!

3. Health First

Soon after adopting your dog, take a trip to the vet’s office and have your new buddy examined. Bringing along any past medical records for the doctor to look at is always helpful. Your doctor will perform a full examination and give your dog the necessary shots he needs. 

Welcome Kate Rogers!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

 

Please welcome Kate Rogers to Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, REALTORS Ankeny office!

Kate comes from a family of Realtors® and has already hit the ground running. She can be reached at (515) 473-2126 or kate.rogers@cbdsm.com.

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