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Welcome Donna!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Welcome, Donna, to our Ankeny office!

Donna has lived in Central Iowa for her entire life. She is married and has four children, two that are married and live locally, a son that is a sophomore in college and a daughter who is a senior in high school. She also has two grandsons and is anxiously waiting for her third grandson to arrive in just a few weeks!

In her free time , she loves to attend her kids' athletic and other activities, spend time with her family, attend church, go to the lake and dine at different restaurants.

"I am so excited to begin my real estate career," Donna said. " I have worked as an RN and in schools so my love of working with and helping others is something I enjoy."

Donna continued, "My goal is to be a blessing to my clients, from start to finish, in the selling of their home, or as buyers when they make their dream of homeownership a reality!"

Donna can be reached at (515) 250-9889 or donna.selindh@cbdsm.com.

 

 

 

Word of Advice Wednesday - Interest Rates

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Interest rates have come a long way in the last 30 years. Learn about the difference your interest rate can make from our very own Angela Loper!

Toss These 5 Things Before You Move For a Fresh New Start

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It’s a great feeling to walk into your new home and know you have a blank space to work with. But making sure your new home stays this fresh, clean and exciting is much harder. Here are five things to consider throwing away before your next move.

 

1. Old trash cans. Old and used garbage cans and bins can be dirty and in bad shape. And nothing says “yucky” like an old trash can that you’ve used for years.

If your family is anything like mine, you have gum, stains and sticky spots on even the cleanest of indoor and outdoor trash cans. Do yourself a favor and throw out the old bins before you move to your new home. You can buy new trash cans that match, fit the space and are clean. This rule may also apply to recycling bins you have around the house.

If buying all new cans isn’t in your budget, definitely clean your cans before packing them into your moving truck or car. Fill the inside of the can with dish soap and warm water and let it soak. Then scrub. The soak will make scrubbing easier.

 

2. Toys. Moving is the best time to clean out the things you haven’t used and the things that won’t serve you in your new space. Toys are a major clutter culprit, and often many of them just aren’t being used anymore. My motto: Keep the favorites and toss the rest. Once you’re in your new space, you can buy a special new toy to celebrate the move.

Pro tip: If you feel too guilty about getting rid of your child’s toy, pack up the ones you think your child may miss and leave them in a separate box in the garage. If they don’t ask for them after a certain amount of time, get rid of them.

 

3. Old paint. Every client I work with has gallons of old paint. Chances are the colors match your old house but not your new one, so this is a great time to clean out all the old cans.

Before disposing of paint, check your town’s rules on recycling or disposing of it.

Pro tip: If you loved some of those colors, add them to a spreadsheet on your computer. Make sure you list the room a paint was used in, for future reference. Make sure to update the spreadsheet as you repaint in your new house too.

 

4. Paper. As long as you’ve rectified your statements, paid your bills and set aside important documents and receipts, you don’t need to keep all the paper that’s weighing you down. File the things you need to keep, such as tax documents, health insurance paperwork and property records, and get rid of the rest.

I keep three files on my desk at all times: bills to be paid, business receipts to keep and paid bills. Once I see online that the paid bills have been registered as paid, I throw the paper versions out. This keeps the files small and manageable year-round.

Pro tip: In the weeks before you move, carve out five to 10 minutes a week to tackle the paper piles you have around the house. Almost all of the items in these piles can be thrown away if you take the time to go through them.

 

5. Storage containers. Do yourself a favor and get fresh storage containers for your new home! The container drawer is often a major source of clutter and frustration for my clients. Your new home will feel even newer with a full set of matching storage containers.

I store my containers with the lids on so they don’t get separated. If for some reason the lid does go missing, I repurpose the bottom or get rid of it. I’m loving glass containers these days because I can microwave, store and eat from them. They can do it all and then go back into the drawer with their matching lids.

Pro tip: Buy storage containers based on your family’s needs. For example, if you cook often and send friends and family home with leftovers, buy inexpensive, disposable containers. If you use your containers weekly for whole meals, buy larger sizes.

Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, REALTORS® Named Best Workplace

Monday, September 18, 2017



THE DES MOINES REGISTER NAMES COLDWELL BANKER MID-AMERICA GROUP, REALTORS®

A WINNER OF THE STATE OF IOWA 2017 TOP WORKPLACES AWARD


West Des Moines - September 18th, 2017 – Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, REALTORS® has been awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Des Moines Register.


The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.


“The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits.” says Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.”


“At Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, Realtors®, culture is key,” President of Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, Realtors® Robert Burns said about the award. “Our strong culture allows CBMAG staff to deliver world-class service to our affiliated agents, and that directly translates into truly remarkable experiences for our home sellers and buyers. I am incredibly proud that we have been recognized as one of the best places to work in Central Iowa, and I thank our staff and affiliated agents for the trust and confidence they place in our company.”


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Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, Realtors® is an Iowa based member of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation. Mid-America Group, a landowner and developer with over 35 years of experience, affiliated with Coldwell Banker in 1990.  By combining local ownership, market expertise and national support services, Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group, Realtors® offers a full range of premier real estate services.

Headquartered in Exton, PA, WorkplaceDynamics specializes in employee feedback surveys and workplace improvement. This year alone, more than two million employees in over 6,000 organizations will participate in the Top Workplaces™ campaign—a program it conducts in partnership with more than 40 prestigious media partners across the United States. Workplace Dynamics also provides consulting services to improve employee engagement and organizational health. WorkplaceDynamics is a founding B Corporation member, a coalition of organizations that are leading a global movement to redefine success in business by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.


About Coldwell Banker®

Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate. Coldwell Banker is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of approximately 83,000 sales agents working in approximately 3,100 offices in 50 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker brand is known for creating innovative consumer services. The Coldwell Banker system is a leader in specialty markets such as resort, new homes and luxury properties through its Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® marketing program. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated. Coldwell Banker is subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global provider of real estate services.

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©2017 Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation. ®, TM and SM licensed trademarks to Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation, except REALTOR.com®. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated Except Offices Owned And Operated By NRT Incorporated.


Does Your Living Room Feel Unfinished? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

Friday, September 15, 2017

Have you ever felt like your living room looks incomplete but you haven’t been sure what to do about it? Being your own decorator can be difficult — you get used to your own furniture, and it can be challenging to think of new approaches to a space you’ve been living in for some time. If that’s the situation for you, ask yourself these six questions to jump start a new perspective and take your living room from not-quite-right to beautifully decorated.

1. Do you have a focal point? Many features in a room can be its focal point, including a fireplace, built-in shelves or even a grouping like a chest with a lamp and art overhead. If a focal point doesn’t seem to exist in your living room, think about where your eye goes naturally when entering the room and create a point of interest there with furnishings, such as a sofa table and lamp or maybe a curio cabinet with decorative items. To emphasize your focal point, add finishes or decor that will make it stand out: an accent wall can draw the eye, as can bold artwork, contrasting decor or a stunning piece of furniture.

In this photo, a wide doorway frames the focal point beyond: the sofa and art. The white sofa, light walls and rug create a bold contrast against the eye-catching red pillows and dark tables. The large artwork pulls together the different colors in the room.

In this room, the built-in shelving is the obvious focal point, thanks in large part to its fetching blue paint. The large framed art and contrasting shelf decor further draw the eye to this part of the room. It’s just as important that the sofa, end table, coffee table, gray chair and pillows provide a neutral foreground that doesn’t compete with the shelving.

Keep in mind that not every element of your room has to be special or colorful or unique — keeping some pieces simple allows the items you want to showcase to really stand out.

2. Do you have a cozy seating arrangement that enhances your focal point? Of course a wide range of options exist on furniture placement, but by placing your sofa or love seat facing your focal point with chairs laced in to create an intimate grouping, you naturally draw attention toward that focal point, whether a fireplace, artwork or view beyond. If pointing your sofa toward the focal point isn’t an option or doesn’t look quite right, try flanking your focal point with the furniture grouping instead to enhance it like in this photo.

Here, the bold green chair and colorful decor on the mantel give emphasis to the fireplace, while the yellow pillow and flowers add a cheerful pop of color.

This photo provides a great example of a U-shaped seating arrangement that enhances the fireplace focal point, providing an enticing place to sit. The striated horizontal tile and lit shelving flanking the fireplace call further attention to that wall.

3. Do you have stylish side and coffee tables? Not only are tables practical for holding lamps, drinks and decor like trays, books or flowers, but also they can make a design statement.

These quirky stacked tables are a great example of how to have an impact when mixed with simple furnishings. If you have upholstery that looks heavy — skirted, thick legs or no legs showing — try offsetting them with tables that show more leg for a lighter, balanced feel (and vice versa). In this photo, a gallery-style wall of art adds a personal touch and vibrant color to the room, as do the pillows and plants.

4. Do you have an ample-size rug that augments your design? Rugs not only help delineate spaces in open floor plans but also ground a furniture grouping, or help define it as a contained space. When selecting a rug, ensure that it supports your room’s style and that it is large enough to tuck fully under your seating area. If not, then place front furniture legs on top of the rug, as in this photo, to create a connection between the rug and the furnishings.

5. Have you added window treatments? Window coverings can range from draperies, as shown in this photo, to window toppers and hard treatments like shades, blinds or shutters. Window treatments need to be beautiful as well as functional, providing privacy, darkening, sun protection and insulation from outside elements when needed.

In this photo, the draperies add height to the room and reinforce the color palette, making the room feel more finished.

6. Does your room showcase your style and color preferences? As much as neutral schemes can be calming and beautiful, accent colors and stylish furnishings can bring a room to life. In this photo, bright orange and golden yellow pillows warm up the gray sectional along with the orange and yellow accents on the shelving beyond.

Wall shelves and a coffee table reveal an affinity for clean-lined furniture in light woods, while the rug and gold pillow fabric at the far end of the sofa demonstrate a fondness for graphic patterns.

Moving Hacks that Make Life Easier

Friday, September 15, 2017

I’m just going to say it, “I hate moving!” The only good part is that I’m getting pretty good at finding moving hacks that make it a little easier every time. I recently completed a move, and some of my moving hacks worked so well even the movers were impressed! This was most certainly the easiest of my past three moves. Here are some of the tricks that helped me.

Hire Professionals

This one might seem like a cop out, but I will honestly NEVER move again without a professional moving company wrapping, loading, and unloading my valuable, practically brand new furniture. I was honestly amazed at how inexpensive it was to hire a local load/unload crew. I didn’t even have to mess with a truck! This technique is especially helpful when you don’t have local friends. I can’t just call up a buddy to help me move my heavy dining room set. Having professionals take care of things really helped put my mind (and my back) at ease!

Pack bedding in vacuum bags

Suck It Up — Invest in Vacuum Bags

This has been one of my favorite moving hacks for years! You would be amazed at how much space pillows, bedding, and towels take up. When space is at a premium, vacuum bags are worth the investment. The best part is how easy it is to cram the bags into nooks and crannies to fill in spaces that would have otherwise been wasted. Try a few bags for yourself and you’ll be rushing back to the store to buy more! I had quite the collection after this move.

Use garbage bags to move hang up clothes

Trash Bags for Hang-Up Clothes

In one of my moves, I literally spent hours taking all of my hang-up clothes off their hangers, folding them, unfolding them, and hanging them back up. Never again! Now all I do it cut a hole in the bottom of a trash bag, slip it over a bundle of clothes on hangers, and pull the draw string. When I get to my new place, I just hang up the bundle and remove the bag! It’s one of those moving hacks that you’ll use over and over.

Color coordinate your box labels

Color Coordinate the Box Labels

Of all the moving hacks I have used, this one always get the most attention. And it’s so simple:

  1. Go to the store and buy a pack of colored card paper. Be sure there are enough colors for each room of the new house.
  2. Label each color for a specific room (Kitchen, Master Bedroom, Garage, etc.).
  3. Cut the matching sheets into four pieces and label them with the first letter of the corresponding room (K for Kitchen, MB for Master Bedroom).
  4. Tape a label on each box.
  5. At the new house, place a sign in the correct room.

This method keeps the movers from having to ask you where every single box goes. It’s so much easier to say, “If the box has a green ‘K’ label, it goes in the kitchen.” In my last move, it shaved a significant amount of time off the unloading process.

Clean Before You Move

If you are lucky enough to have possession a few days before the move, invest the time to pre-clean the house, or better yet, hire a cleaning service. Previous occupants are not always as concerned with the cleanliness of the house as you are. Little things like baseboards or cabinets are easy to miss. It’s so much easier to notice and rectify the situation when there is no furniture in the house!

These are just a few of the moving hacks that made my move so much more enjoyable, if that’s even possible when moving. With a little planning, you can save yourself time, money, and stress by implementing just a few of these techniques.

Word of Advice Wednesday- 5 Reasons To Hire a Real Estate Professional

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We hear so many "For Sale By Owner" horror stories that could have been avoided! Here are 5 Reasons To Hire a Real Estate Professional, explained by Julie Peck.


Market Snapshot - August 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Help! My Home Isn't Selling

Friday, September 08, 2017

You listed your home for sale with high hopes. You love your property and you felt certain that it would sell in a reasonable amount of time. But it’s been several months since you listed your home.

You’ve had some interests and several showings. You’ve received a few lowball offers. Maybe you’ve even experienced the emotional turmoil of watching a contract fall apart. Regardless of the details, one fact is clear: your property is very much still for sale.

What went wrong? What can you do? Here are 8 effective tips to facilitate a faster sale.

Depersonalize
If your house has been on the market for six weeks or more without so much as a nibble of interest, it’s time to take a hard look at what might be putting buyers off.

If buyers can’t imagine themselves living in a home, they’ll be reluctant to make an offer.

To make your home appealing, pack away all of your family pictures, child artwork, and mementos. Paint your walls a neutral color like beige, cream or white. Pack away any polarizing or controversial pieces of artwork or decor. Depersonalize and try to make your home look like a model home.

Declutter
Buyers like to see clean, wide-open living spaces. If you have physical or visual clutter in the room, you’re sending a message to the buyer that you don’t have enough storage space.

Don’t send that message. Instead, get those moving boxes and start packing. You may not have a contract yet, but if you minimize your possessions and declutter the space, you’ll make the rooms look larger and create the impression of having tons of storage space.

Remove Evidence of Pets
We love our four-legged friends, but their food and water dishes, crates, and even just hair on the carpet can be a big turn-off to buyers who don’t like animals.

If you know that someone is coming to look at your home, put the food dishes away, store the crate in the garage or outside, and make sure to remove all signs of pet fur and dander.

Freshen Up the Space
Don’t let buyers turn up their nose at your home. Smell is the first thing potential buyers notice when they walk into a house.

Clean your home to get rid of any dusty or musty smells. If the weather is nice, open the windows to let your home air out. Install all-natural room fresheners or light scented candles in discreet places like the bathroom closet, laundry room, and garage. Choose a neutral and natural scent, like vanilla, rather than a pungent floral scent.

You could also consider investing an essential oil diffuser to leave running during home showings. Sage, lemon, lavender, and cinnamon are all subtle, relaxing, and inviting scents that help brighten your living space.

Work on Curb Appeal
Some buyers won’t even step into your home if they don’t think the property has curb appeal. Clean the windows and make sure that there are no visible cobwebs. Mow your yard and trim the edges, prune the bushes, plant fresh flowers, and spruce up your shutters by giving them a fresh coat of paint. You may even want to install a new mailbox and outdoor light fixtures.

Consider an Affordable Mini-Renovation
Not everyone likes a fixer-upper. Stained carpets and less than appealing paint colors may look like dollars needed for (and the hassle of) renovation in the buyer’s eyes.

Small renovations may lead to big payoff. Consider painting the walls a neutral color, installing a smart thermostat, replacing hardware and fixtures and other fairly inexpensive changes that will take away the label of a fixer-upper.

Stage Like an Expert
You’ve depersonalized, decluttered, renovated, and worked on curb appeal. Now it’s time to stage your home like a pro.

Place brand new, neatly folded towels and candles in the bathroom. Place a decorative bowl filled with bright red or green apples, lemons, or limes in the kitchen. Fill a clear glass cookie jar with fresh cookies on the kitchen counter.

Ask Your Agent About Pricing
If your home isn’t selling after you’ve done everything above, it’s time to talk to your real estate agent about adjusting the price.

This is where your agent’s knowledge of your market and the amenities of your home come into play. If your home is priced competitively, buyers will feel like they’re getting a great deal. A $5,000-$10,000 reduction may be all it takes to motivate the right buyer.

Make Your Home More Accessible
Make your home available for showings. If you limit your home to pre-scheduled viewings, you’re definitely not going to be able to sell as quickly. If you’re flexible with when you allow buyers to come see your property, you’ll have a better chance of getting more foot traffic and more potential buyers into your home.

Dressing Up My Door: Adding Privacy to Doorways

Friday, September 08, 2017

 

The benefits of allowing natural sunlight to flood into a home are manifold. An air of expansiveness, livability and distinction characterizes an exceptionally well-lit home. It’s no wonder, then, that the installation of French doors, sliding patio doors and door sidelights are among the most popular home improvement projects.

While many homeowners may desire the enhanced interior aesthetic that comes from these glass-paned solutions, they prefer to have them without compromising on privacy. There are many options for blinds and shades that let sunlight in and keep prying eyes out without compromising the look of newly installed windows and doors. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Vertical Blinds and Sliding Panels – Vertical blinds pair beautifully with sliding glass doors in both form and function, with their long, elegant drape and a myriad of available styles. Because they slide on a horizontal axis, they allow for easy opening and closing. The slats can be tilted at any angle you choose, so you have total control over how much light can filter in or change the direction of light while deflecting the wayward gaze of passersby. Vertical blinds also have sheer options, which filter some amount of light even when closed, and they provide a modern aesthetic.

Sliding panels are similar to vertical blinds, but they’re made of wider pieces of material and offer a more updated look. They also provide more options for opening – from either side or from the center. Available in a variety of materials and colors, they can complement any room’s décor.

2. Shades – Shades are a good option for doors that open in and out, like French doors. Unlike the many-slatted design of most blinds, shades are composed of solid pieces of fabric which offer full coverage for privacy. With options ranging from cellular to Roman, shades can be made from a wider variety of materials that match the look of your door, and may even feature some degree of translucence to allow a warm glow to permeate your interior even when they’re closed. Motorized options can be programmed to retract or extend per the time of day, giving you a turnkey window treatment solution that enhances the style of your doors.

3. Shutters – These window treatments are an excellent option for windows around doorways. Plantation shutters work particularly well as adornments for door sidelights.
Mounted into the window frame, shutters stay tightly attached from top to bottom so they won’t sway when the door opens and closes. Simply adjust the slats to control the light entering the home. Available in wood and faux-wood, the aesthetic of your shutters can be tailored to complement the look of your home. When closed, shutters form a barricading façade that guarantees your privacy from nosy neighbors and would-be intruders alike. With the proper angling of your shutters, however, you can still maintain that same privacy while letting natural light in.

4. Smart Glazing – For a thoroughly modern solution, consider smart glazing window treatments as an alternative to traditional frosted glass. Crystals inside of these high-tech panes respond to electrical currents to change your glazing from clear to opaque and anything in between, completely on demand. The best part? Your smart system can be programmed to change dynamically with the time of day, allowing you to adopt a “set it and forget it” philosophy to the privacy and aesthetics of your doors and windows.

The beautiful doors and doorways in your home can welcome visitors as well as natural light, while still allowing for privacy and security. Maintain their character with a customized window treatment that matches the style and function of your home.

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