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Des Moines Holiday Events

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Now that Thanksgiving is here, the holiday season has offically kicked off. The Des Moines Area is full of holiday events and fun for the whole family. Below are some dates and information for some of the area's best seasonal events.

  • What would the holiday season be without shopping? On November 27th, The annual Rockin' Shoppin' Eve at Jordan Creek Town Center means that stores will open at 12:01 a.m. for holiday shopping. Free coffee and live entertainment will keep you awake.
  • On December 3rd and 10th, Shops will stay open late during Valley Junction's Holiday Open House. The businesses in Historic Valley Junction and the streets will be lined with more than 150,000 twinkling lights.
  • If holiday crafts interest you then you will want to visit Adventureland from Nov. 27-29th they will host more than 100 craft vendors.
  • On Dec. 5th, West Glen Town Center hosts Sip and Shop, with a tree lighting on Nov. 21, carolers on Dec. 5 and visits from Santa and carriage rides both days.
  • It's the 18th and final year for Dutch Christmas in the Country, which features 55,000 lights and twelve structures that make up a Dutch Village. Starting Nov. 27 through Dec. 31 visit this amazing event which runs 5:15-10:30 p.m. Nov. 23-Dec. 31. To get there, take Highway 163 east to Pella, take exit 40 and follow the signs. Admission is free.
  • From Dec. 1-18 go back in time 150 years and visit Merry Christmas to All: A Thomas Nast Christmas in Ames. Celebrate the season and the timeless images of Thomas Nast, and experience an authentic founding farm Christmas. Visitors will see traditional holiday decor and hear Christmas songs from the 19th century while touring the 150 year old Farm House  Farm House Museum, Knapp-Wilson House, Iowa State University, 1810 Lincoln Way, 290 Scheman Building, Ames, IA 50011, (515) 294-3342
  • Don't forget that animals need help this season as well. The Animal Rescue League is hosting “Home for the Holidays” Open House and Frosty Paw Boutique. Visitors can explore the adoption area and meet adoptable pets ready for new homes, and shop the Frosty Paw Boutique, located in Mapes Auditorium. Everything from art work, pet supplies, makeup, jewelry and food items will be available for early holiday shopping. There will also be a raffle for a chance to win some fabulous prizes all while helping the animals at the ARL. Animal Rescue League, 5452 N.E. 22nd St., Des Moines, IA 50313
  • If theatre is your thing, mix together a batch of fruitcakes, dozens of Christmas trees, a chickenpox epidemic, two southern spinsters, an estranged old man, a runaway boy, and a Christmas hog, and youve got the recipe for a fun holiday show. This moving story of understanding and reconciliation provides a heaping helping of holiday warmth and Christmas cheer. Admission: $15  Ames Community Theaterof Recreation Service, 120 Abraham Drive, Ames, IA 50014

Des Moines Named #1 Most Livable Market

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Des Moines was just named #1 in the 2009 MSN Real Estate Most-Livable Bargain Markets! According to their report, Des Moines may be one of the best and most overlooked places to jump-start your career.  They also rate the economy of our area as solid, with a large number of well-paying jobs in the insurance, bioscience and agribusiness fields. Yet the median house costs just $150,000. Forbes has ranked it one of the best places for business and careers three years running.

The report also notes that the Des Moines area has some of the cleanest air in the country. The residents reported that there’s enough outdoor recreation, culture and fine art to keep most people happy.  According to Lauren Burt of the Greater Des Moines Partnership “There’s so many things that are accessible here,”  “There’s a lot of volunteerism and ways to be engaged with the community.”

MSN Real Estate asked Bert Sperling of Sperling’s Best Places to evaluate the most affordable housing markets from the 100 largest U.S. metro areas and pinpoint 10 of the most livable areas: places where unemployment is low, commute times are mercifully short and there are enough interesting entertainment and cultural amenities to keep most people busy and satisfied. Congratulation Des Moines for making #1 on this list!

New Law Offers Credits For Homebuyers

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Initially scheduled to expire on December 1, 2009, the first time home buyer tax credit will now be extended to May 1, 2010. An addition to the extension, the new law also features some significant changes to this new tax credit that should allow many more home buyers to qualify for it.  Below are some new elements of the extension:

  • Credit available for purchases before May 1, 2010. Prospective purchasers with binding contracts in place as of April 30, 2010 will be allowed an additional 60 days to complete the transaction.
  • Credit remains at $8000 for first-time purchasers. 
  • New $6500 tax credit for repeat buyers who purchase between December 1, 2009 and May 1, 2010. The buyers must have lived in their homes consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years.
  • Income limits are expanded to $125,000 on a single return and $225,000 on a joint return. 

Homebuyers who purchased a home in 2008 or 2009 may be able to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer credit. The credit applies only to homes used as a taxpayer's principal residence. This reduces a taxpayer's tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar and is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.

For more information on how to file for this credit or for frequently answered questions, visit the IRS website.  

 

Local Sculpture Adds New Views

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

In an area of Des Moines that once was full of old and decaying buildings and closed up storefronts now boasts a sculpture park with works by Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois and Sol Lewitt, among others.

According to an article in the New York Times, the park which is part of a redevelopment project started back in 1991. It will be named for John and Mary Pappajohn, a Des Moines venture capitalist and his wife, who have given the 24 sculptures — valued at some $40 million — to the community through the Des Moines Art Center. The enterprise is a collaboration among the Pappajohns, other private donors, the city and the center, a contemporary-art museum west of downtown.

Community leaders raised $6.5 million to create the park and finance an endowment for security and upkeep. Diana Agrest and Mario Gandelsonas, architects based in New York, designed an undulating lawn with grassy mounds and crescent-shaped cutaways to display sculptures by artistic style.

Admission to the park is free and is open from 6 a.m. to midnight. The park has  has around-the-clock security, including foot patrols, cameras, motion sensors and speakers. The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located between Locust Street and Grand Avenue, 13th and 15th Streets. For more information please call 515-277-4405 or click here to visit the website.

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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
 

 

 

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