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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. 

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!

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!

Selecting The Right Generator

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

The electricity can go out in any season whether due to storms or equipment failure. Having a backup emergency generator as part of your emergency plan can be a lifesaver. There are various types and sizes of generators on the market and depending on your needs, can range in cost and quality. If you are a homeowner considering investing in a generator, below are some helpful tips that can help you in your research..

Types of Generators

You can get generators in various sizes and types of power. The more items you plan to to provide power to, the bigger and more costly the generator.

Stationary Generators

A stationary generator is  outside-mounted and run on propane or natural gas and supply more power than a portable. They are typically equipped with a forced air or other type of cooling system that allows it to be enclosed typically outside mounted on a concrete pad similar to a central air conditioning unit.

  • Permanent generators are installed as part of the electrical system and provide power to the building wiring.
  • Electrical current from the generator may back-feed into the home's electrical system and cause damage or fire and ruin equipment if it is not properly installed. It is recommended a qualified electrician install a generator to a home electrical system.
  • Stationary generators are far more powerful than any portable unit, a stationary generator will allow you to weather any outage for an extended period of time.


Portable Generators

This type of generators are typicaly wheeled and are ususally the most popular, You will need to make sure you have an ample supply of fuel when using this type for extended use. This type is idea if you plan to use a few selected circuits such as  for lights in the general living area, heating or cooling systems, or refrigerator.

  • If deciding to use a portable generator, it is important to select one that is adequately sized. Some electrical motors in home appliances and equipment can be ruined or damaged if they do not receive enough electrical current.
  • Portable generators are least expensive and can be transported for camping, trips or other locations where temporary power is needed


Before you purchase a generator be sure to you have determined the total watts needed to power the items you need. This is important to help you determine what size generator is required. An electrician can help make this determination or you can check the manufacturer information for each appliance.

Whether you choose a portable or a stationary, all generators burns fuel and must be run outdoors. Always follow the manufacturers instructions and never run it in the garage or inside the home.

Snow Removal Options

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Winter is in full swing in the Des Moines area and with the recent storms, snow removal is a necessity. Waking up to a driveway buried in snow is not always a welcome sight--especially on days that you need to be to work on time! Whether you want to remove the snow yourself or you would rather pay for the service, you have some different options to clear the snow from around your home and get on your way.

 Snow Blowers

Also called snow throwers, these come in both gas and electric. If you don't have too long a driveway, electric snow blowers provide an alternative to heavy, high-maintenance gas snow blowers. While they are sometimes less powerful, they typically require less maintenance. Gas snowblowers will have a wider clearing width and you don't have to worry about the cord but they are more expensive and require more maintenance such as tuning and yearly checkups.

Professional Snow Removal Services

If you prefer to just hire a professional to clear the snow for you, commercial snow removal companies are the way to go. Snow removal cost can vary greatly, some companies will offer a lump sum seasonal rate for businesses or residential. Others will charge on a each time basis which can range from $35 to $100. The downside can be a long wait if you are not a regular customer and a big storm hits. It is important to make sure the person you hire is experienced and insured. Visit the Snow and Ice management association's website to find a qualified company near you.

Lawnmower/Tractor Attachments

If you have a long driveway and have a riding lawn mower or lawn tractor, you may want to invest in a blade attachment or snow blower attachment for snow removal.  These attachments fastens to the front of the mower and throws snow or plows to the front or side. For longer and wider driveways, a snow plow attached to the front of the mower can quickly remove large amounts of snow. You can also purchase tire chains to help prevent the mower's wheels from spinning in their tracks.

 Shovels

Some homeowners prefer to use the tried and true traditional snow shovels and moves the snow themselves. It is important however to consider your physical condition. If you have a heart condition or other health issues, you should proceed with caution. Snow is heavy and shoveling is hard work - you don't want to risk a serious injury or jeopardize your health. On the positive side, it is a great way to burn calories and it doesn't cost you a thing! 

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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Contact Information

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