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4 Word For Every Home Buyer

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI
Home buyers are often confused by an array of unfamiliar terms used when it comes to  the buying and selling process. Even the greenest buyers, however, can save thousands of dollars in financing by mastering just four words:

    * Interest
    * Principal
    * Amortization
    * Equity

Interest, of course, is the cost of borrowing the money to buy the property. During the first years, the monthly payments are largely interest. A smaller portion of the payment is credited to the loan itself, or the principal. The process of reducing the principal is called amortization. As the loan is gradually paid off, the homeowner’s actual ownership – or equity – is increased.

You can learn more about the real estate process by visiting our website www.DesMoinesHomeSource.com

Keep a Grateful Journal and Give Thanks

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI
The point of Thanksgiving is to remember the things we have to be grateful for. It's our special time to give thanks... not just for the obvious, like food, but for the thousands of fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.

That's not always as easy as it sounds. We tend to remember the bad things much more easily than the good. That's where this article comes in. using the tips below, you can make thankfulness an everyday habit. It's a skill that will benefit you throughout the year.

Begin by keeping a gratitude journal. Don't write down negative things; only positive ones. For example, "I'm grateful that I made it through that heavy rush hour traffic safely." "I'm grateful that I got to see a beautiful sunset." "I'm grateful that I have a class at school that I really like."

Think of all the good things that happened because something bad happened first. For example, "If that slow driver hadn't pulled in front of me, I would have gotten a speeding ticket." "If I hadn't tripped on the playground, I would never have met such a nice person." "If I hadn't experienced unemployment, I would never have acquired the skills that got me a more fulfilling job."

Don't focus on what you don't have. Focus on what you do have. For example: "I'm so fortunate to have a warm place to sleep in the winter." "I'm so fortunate to live in a safe neighborhood where I can take walks." "I'm so fortunate to be able to see the beauty around me."

Think about people you've known that have made you thankful for their existence. They can be family, friends or simply people that you've read about or seen on television. Imagine how many other people there are who might be equally as wonderful. You just haven't met them yet.

Think about people who have made life hard for you. Now think about the things you accomplished because of them. Did you finish something because they said that you couldn't? Did you get better at something because they made fun of you when you did it badly? Did their cruel actions make you vow never to treat others that way? Even the negative forces in your life can be hidden blessings, worthy of your gratitude.

Think about the animals that have given you joy: Dogs that love you with every inch of their hearts, cats that think your lap is the best place to nap in the whole world, birds whose songs uplift your spirit, squirrels whose antics put a grin on your face and so on.

Think about the places that make you smile: A favorite hangout, a wooded trail, an exciting city, a great spot from which to view the sky, a hill that you once rolled down. Give thanks for all these things.

Now pass it on. True gratitude involves action. Lend a hand. Pitch in. Make a gift. Give your time. Listen. Give back as often as you can. Even a friendly greeting can make all the difference in the world.

Create your own opportunities for gratitude. Do you know someone who never seems happy? Be ready with a smile and a kind word each time you see them. It may require patience, but eventually, they'll smile first when they see you. Your interactions with them will be much more pleasant. Guess what? You'll have a new reason to be thankful!

Let others know when they've done something that you're thankful for. For example, "I'll never forget how you stuck up for me. It meant a lot." "That email you sent really made my day." "You make shopping here a pleasure." An attitude of gratitude spreads like ripples from a tossed pebble, benefitting all it touches.

Remember that hard times make good times sweeter. Also keep in mind that obstacles and challenges not only make you stronger, but they force you to explore outside of the comfortable routine that you've settled into. Without challenges, there can be no progress. Without obstacles, there can be no achievement. Be thankful for the opportunities that they provide.

In conclusion, giving thanks is a powerful tool that can dramatically improve your life and the lives of those around you. Start by embracing gratitude's special day, then make it a habit!
   

The Silent Killer-Radon

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI
Many people are unaware of what exactly what  Radon gas is and what are the dangers associated with it. Radon Gas is a tasteless, odorless, invisible gas that It is formed from the radioactive decay of uranium. Uranium is found in small amounts in most rocks and soil. It slowly breaks down to other products such as radium, which breaks down to radon. Radon is a serious potential health threat that most people don’t even consider.   According to the EPA reports, “Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually.”  With these serious statistics you might wonder where Radon comes from, how it gets into your home and how to  test for it and most importantly remove it from your home.

How to tell if you have Radon

Radon testing is only way to find out if you have a radon problem in your home, the good news is that it is very easy. Since you cannot see or smell radon, special equipment is needed to detect it.  When you're ready to test your home, you can order a radon test kit by mail from a qualified radon measurement services provider or laboratory.  You can also hire a qualified radon tester, very often a home inspector, who will use a radon device(s) suitable to your situation.   As new testing devices are developed, you may want to check with your state radon office before you test to get the most up-to-date information

What to do if you have Radon

 It is estimated that one in 15 homes are threatened by Radon gas.  Companies like Safety Siren market a Radon detector not unlike a carbon monoxide detector. While the threat is real, the good news it it can be corrected if the gas is found in your home. If your house has failed a radon air to/or water test, you have options available to you to reduce radon levels to an acceptable level. There are companies that specialize in the reduction of Radon.  For Information on Radon Removal and various techniques, the EPA has published an on-line booklet called  "How To Reduce Radon Levels in Your Home"

Preparing Your Home for Winter

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

 

TODAY'S FEATURED PROPERTIES



The fall Equinox is a good time of year to start thinking about preparing your home for winter, because as temperatures begin to dip, your home will require maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape through the winter.

Autumn is invariably a prelude to falling winter temperatures, regardless of where you live. It might rain or snow or, as David Letterman says, "Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees." Did you know there is only one state in the United States where the temperatures have never dipped below zero? Give up? It's Hawaii.

Here are ten tips to help you prepare your home for winter:

1) Furnace Inspection

  • Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and clean ducts.
  • Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
  • Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
  • If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
  • Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

2) Get the Fireplace Ready

  • Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
  • If the chimney hasn't been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
  • Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
  • Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
  • Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint, if necessary.

3) Check the Exterior, Doors and Windows

  • Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
  • Use weatherstripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
  • Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
  • If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
  • Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. If you have storm windows, install them.

4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

  • If your weather temperature will fall below 32 degrees in the winter, adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams.
  • Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
  • Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
  • Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.
  • Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

5) Service Weather-Specific Equipment

  • Drain gas from lawnmowers.
  • Service or tune-up snow blowers.
  • Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
  • Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
  • Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt / sand.

6) Check Foundations

  • Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation.
  • Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
  • Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
  • Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
  • Secure crawlspace entrances.

7) Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Some cities require a smoke detector in every room.
  • Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.

8) Prevent Plumbing Freezes

  • Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
  • Drain all garden hoses.
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
  • Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.
  • If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.

9) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces

  • Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
  • Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
  • Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
  • Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
  • Don't automatically remove dead vegetation from gardens as some provide attractive scenery in an otherwise dreary, snow-drenched yard.
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

10) Prepare an Emergency Kit

  • Buy indoor candles and matches / lighter for use during a power shortage.
  • Find the phone numbers for your utility companies and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book.
  • Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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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