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Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

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4 Tips to Improve Your Home and Save on Your Energy Bill

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

As a homeowner, it’s important to keep your home running efficiently, not only to save money, but also to help the environment thrive. October 2nd is Energy Efficiency Day, a perfect time to think about making some key upgrades that will improve the efficiency of your home. If you’re looking to sell your house and increase the pool of potential buyers in your market, the upgrades below are truly a must.

According with Wallet Hub,

“In the U.S., energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income.”

What should you spend on utilities?

Money Management says,

“If you’re working with a budget, and trust me, you should be, your utility costs should be no more than 8-10 percent of your monthly income.”

How can you make your home more efficient?

EnergyEfficiencyDay.Org provides some handy tips that can help you improve the energy efficiency of your home. Here are a few simple ones to consider, and how to make them happen:

1. Make the Switch to LED

LEDs are a great example of how innovation and technology can make your life easier. They last at least 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs.

Tip: By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually.

2. Seal Those Leaks

On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. In fact, all the little leaks can be equivalent to leaving open a 3-foot-by-3-foot window.

Tip: Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.

3. Heat and Cool Efficiently

Don’t waste money heating or cooling an empty home. Install a programmable thermostat and in colder weather schedule your home’s heat to lower when you are away or asleep and increase when you are returning home or waking-up. In warm weather, schedule the thermostat to raise the temperature when you are away or asleep, and lower it at other times.

Tip: Follow the U.S. Department of Energy recommended temperatures and be energy-efficient all year. 

4. Maintain Your HVAC System

Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm (or cool) and costing you more money.

Tip: Consider getting a winter tune-up. Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can be vital to improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable. 

Bottom Line

By making a few key upgrades to your home, you’ll save on your utility bills and improve the energy efficiency of your home. When you’re ready to sell your house, these key features will make it even more attractive to potential buyers. Let’s get together to discuss what buyers are looking for when it comes to energy efficiency options in our area.

 

Rent vs Buy

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Why should I buy in 2018?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Protect Your Home By Tricking the Bad Guys

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Leaving on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time can be stressful for some. No one likes leaving their home, where they sleep at night, all their valuables, alone with protection or checking on them. But there are some tricks you can do to convince burglars that you are home, even though you are not! 

Before you leave, there are 7 things you can do to make your house less vulnerable to a break in and make your time away much more enjoyable: 

1. Dead-Bolts: dead-bolt window and door locks make it more difficult for someone to break in.

2. Alarm: Burglar alarms are the best way to alert emergency personal that there’s a problem. 

3. Exposed Hinges: Make sure all entry doors have the hinges on the inside.

4. Disconnect Internet: Keep your computers off and the Internet disconnected. If someone does break in they won’t be able to access your information and cause more damage.

5. Clean the Exterior: Put ladders, crow bars and anything else a burglar could use to break a window in a locked shed.

6. Timed Lighting: Put a timer on the TV and various lights. A flickering TV is all it takes to keep your house safe.

7. Don't be afraid to fake it: Fake camera on the outside of your home, high enough so it's hard to tell its fake. 

Memorial Day Events around Des Moines

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember all our veterans who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  The Des Moines area has many Memorial Day events taking place for you to attend on May 29th:

Des Moines- Memorial Day Service on the State Capital grounds, starting at 10:00 am.

Adel- The Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Memorial Day Ceremony take place at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery at 8:00 am.

Blue Grass- The Blue Grass American Legion Post 711 Memorial Day Ceremony takes place at 10:00 am.

Mitchellville- A Memorial Day service will be held at the Mitchellville Cemetery starting at 9:45 am.

Johnston- Starting at 5:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge.

Wishing all our Veterans and Active Military Members a safe & Happy Memorial Day!

 

How wifi can save you money during the summer!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

In recent decades we have seen large advancements in thermostat technology, and even more so in recent years with the addition of WiFi controlled devices. Technology has gone from settable temperatures, to programmable (a huge break through of its time), to the all mighty WiFi Connected Thermostat. Since 2013, these devices have improved even more than the latest generation, saving even more money than any device before. 

WiFi thermostats are best known for drastically reducing homeowners energy costs. This is done through automatically adjusting the temperature depending on whether you are home, asleep, or away, by analyzing your heating and cooling patterns and adjusting for the energy-saving opportunities, and by letting you create temperature zones that can be independently controlled. According to many studies, home owners can save up to $200 annually by installing a WiFi device, which would pay for the device itself in the first year, and then continuously save you money from there on after. 

Make Your Roof Last

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Extend the Life of Your Roof

Maintaining and caring for your roof, whether it is brand new or has seen a few seasons, is very important for extending the life of your roof and keeping your pockets full. Most owners do not realize there are issues with their roof until it is too late. Compare your roof to your car, it needs yearly maintenance to stay in top condition and last you a long time. 

Unwanted Guests

The shingles on your roof are used by some animals to chew on, eventually causing leaks. While other animals such as squirrels, mice, rats, and even birds, will make your roof their new home. How do they get up there? Tress surrounding your roof make perfect bridges or ladders, make sure to keep the trimmed back. 

Debris 

Complimenting the critter control, making sure that tree limbs do not rub your roof and will prevent leaf build up. Some people choose to have professionals do the trimming, and some choose not to plant trees near their house at all,

Regular Cleaning 

Debris build up on the roof and in the gutters can cause stagnant water pools, forcing the water to go into the siding of the house and possibly into the drywall. Extra debris can cause the gutters to fall as well, they are not meant to support the weight. So keep your gutters clear and your home happy. 

Keep your Eyes open & know when to ask for help

 

Periodically walking around your house and inspecting the roof can seem very simple and mundane but can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Look for loose or missing shingles, extra debris build up, and even damage from weather. If something seems a little too complicated or big of a job, do not be afraid to call experts, they are professionals for a reason. 

Be proactive about your roof, and it will make sure to keep you safe and dry!

Get Your Lawn Ready for Summer

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Lawn care may not be everyone's favorite thing to do, and some may not know the proper way to prep their lawn for the coming summer. Spring is a sensitive time of the year for your yard the plants are just recovering from winter, the soil is like a sponge, and the weather is unpredictable. Taking  care of your lawn now will only make your summer that much more beautiful and you will thank yourself when it really starts to get hot out. 

Here are some helpful tips for the Spring Season, and how to take care of your yard:

  • Be Gentle: cleaning your lawn and doing heavy yard work can cause damage below the surface. Try to stay off your lawn when it is wet and do as much work when its good and dry. 
  • Control the Weeds: spring is the optimal time to prevent weeds, with new gardening technology,  you can treat your lawn to prevent weeds now and keep your lawn clean through out the summer.
  • Fertilize: Want lush, green lawn grass? feeding your lawn will help it grow strong and green. Now you can get fertilizer and weed control in the same mix, making both jobs even easier.

​​With the spring upon us, do not miss the opportunity to treat your lawn right. For more home tips, visit my website!

Best Time to Sell Your Home

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

When it comes to selling your home, the question always surfaces...When is the best time to sell? Late Spring and Early summer tend to be the most popular time to sell your home for many reasons. 

There are many pros to selling your home this time of the year; School is ending, Home Prices are up, and the summer months tend to free up more time. 

Pros of selling your Des Moines house now:

  • Larger Selling Price: With demand for homes high and inventory low, home prices are steadily increasing.
  • Better Home Evaluation: Home Value valuations are up as well.
  • Longer Days & Look Better: Longer summer days allow for more time to visit or show your home. Plus, spring & summer bring out the beauty in your yard....enhancing Curb Appeal. 
  • Bidding & Multiple Offers: Bidding may be a head ache for the seller at times but multiple offers is a wonderful situation to have!  Multiple offers normally up your Home's Price.

The Real Estate Market is HOT right now!  If you've considered Selling your Des Moines ara home, give Jon Smith a call for a personal consultation and up-to-the-minute market analysis!

Top Tips for Selling your Des Moines Home!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Home Buyers are much pickier these days than they've been in the past.  This means that you need to think about every aspect of your home BEFORE putting it on the market!  You only get one shot to make a great 1st impression....so make it count!

Top Home Selling Tips for your Des Moines Home:

1. Price your Home Realistically from the start!  This is why partnering with a reputable, knowledgeable Real Estate expert is critical.  They know the local market and can price your home at the appropriate price the first time.

2. Walk through your home room by room and assess any repairs or tweaks that need to be made.  Spend the money to make sure every room is up to par.

3. Offer up Extras!  In a competitive market it's important to set yourself apart from other home sellers.  This may mean offering something extra to your potential home buyers;  include your kitchen appliances in the sale, offer the washer/dryer, pay partial closing costs.  Talk with your Real Estate agent to develop a plan from the start.

4. Don't forget about Curb Appeal!  This is the first impression that a home buyer has of your home.  Cultivate an inviting exterior and entry to your home.  Potted plants also give a pop of color!

5. Upgrade Appropriately.  If you have major areas of improvements in your home....choose them wisely!  Remember Kitchen and Baths give you the greatest ROI!

For more Home Selling Tips visit my website or give me a call directly to discuss your home!

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Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
515-240-2692
Fax: 515-453-6404
 

 

 

Licensed in the State of Iowa