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Des Moines Summer Festivals

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Memorial day kicks off the summer season and our area offers many festivals and events all summer long to enjoy. From music to art and everything in between, Des Moines offers something to do for everyone! Summer always goes quick so take time to enjoy the below offerings throughout the area.


Greek Festival 2008

June 7 - 8

Eat and Be Greek! The Greek Food Fair of Des Moines promises to be another fun filled Greek weekend. The festival will be located on the grounds of St. George Greek Orthodox Church,1110 35th St. Des Moines, IA, 50311

Des Moines Arts Festival 

June 27 - 29

Come enjoy the sites in downtown Des Moines' Western Gateway Park. The De Moines Arts Festival features 175 professional juried artists, over 25 family and adult art activities  Performing Arts Stage,   24 eclectic food booths,2 stages hosting live music, 26 Non-profit organizations showcasing art activities,fireworks and much more. Admission is free.        

 Iowa State Fair 

August 7-17

In additon to the traditional rides and great food, the music line-up includes classic rock band Def Leppard with special guest Everclear, “High School Musical” sensations Vanessa Hudgens and Corbin Bleu, country superstar Josh Turner, and glam metal band Cinderella.

The Pro’s And Con’s Of Homeowner Associations

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

While during your search for a new home, you may find some that are part of a homeowners association.  If you have never owned a home in a HOA community will certainly have questions such as what exactly does a homeowners association do? As well as what are the pros and cons?

A homeowners association is usually formed by a developer as a non-profit to maintain some aspect of a development or community.  In the case of many condos, a home owners association often handles the maintenance of the building at large. The association is normally funded by dues or an association fee.  Most real estate listings will tell you if the home is a part of an association and the fees.


A home owners association has the authority to enforce established rules and by-laws, including the right to fine individual home owners for flagrant violations.  If a neighbor's tree fell onto a home owner's driveway, for example, a homeowners association would have the right to order the tree removed.  If a fence violates the maximum height rule, a home owner’s association representative can order the home owner to replace the fence with a more acceptable one.


There are pros and cons to being a part of a homeowners association, it may or may not fit with your lifestyle and ideals. Below are some of both to help you make a decision as to if you are interested in moving into a neighborhood with an HOA.


• Some communities with HOAs have community parks, playgrounds, swimming pools or other nice amenities to help attract prospective tenants. Another plus is the maintance is already taken care of!
• They handle keeping the neighborhood clean and maintains up to date, they also help keep the house all looking the same to keep property values up.
• The close community concern may give owners a greater sense of security.


• If you don’t like restrictions on your own property, a HOA may not be for you. Many associations restrict boats and cars that don’t run from being stored in a driveway and certain paint colors on homes.
• If you don’t comply with the rules or fail to pay the dues, the HOA has a right to put a lien on your property.
 Fees can be monthly or yearly, so you will need to include them in your budget; many fees tend to rise on a yearly basis.


Before considering a home with an owners association read the agreement.  Ask the homeowners in the community about the services they receive.  This way you can get a feel for how happy the locals are about their association.  Also, be sure to make sure you know how the association deals with issues that arise. As a potential buyer do your research to make an educated decision and avoid surprises.

What You Should Know About Lead Paint In The Home

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Before the 1970s, household paint often contained lead. As lead paint ages, it can chip or crumble into dust. Exposure to lead-paint dust or chips can cause serious health problems. Children and pregnant women are at higher risk. So, if you live in or own an older home, you need to know how to protect yourself and others.

If your home was built before 1978, there is a very good chance that there is lead paint.  If you are buying a home or even leasing a home, federal law requires a lead-based paint disclosure be supplied.  It is possible that the current owner has no idea or if the home is for sale by bank they have no prior knowledge of the contents of the home. How can you find out?

If you are buying a home without a completed disclosure, renting a home that the owner would not have that information available or renovating a home built before 1978 where you will be disturbing more than 2 square feet of painted surfaces you need to understand the hazards of lead based paint. Because of the wide spread usage of lead paints before 1978, it is a good possibility that you will find evidence, however, rather than guess, there are testing methods.  Home kits are available and while they will tell you if there is lead they are not a good predictor of hazard.  A paint inspection can be requested with or without a risk assessment.  The EPA recommends hiring a trained and certified testing professional who will us a XRF machine, lab tests of paint, dust and soil samples.

  • If you are not sure that there is lead paint but want to keep your family safe there are a few simple precautions you can take.
  • Immediately take care of chipping paint.  Do not sand paint that may contain lead as will create lead dust.  Chipped paint needs to be immediately disposed of.
  • Cover lead paint by painting over possible offenders.  While this doesn't cure the problem it is a quick solution to protect your family until abatement can occur.  
  • Frequently check play areas and high traffic areas for signs that paint is cracking.
  • If you are remodeling, remove small children and if possible women of child bearing years.

A complete guide to lead-paint and renovating can be found in this EPA document. While paint isn't the only source of possible lead contamination; it is the most common.  If you think your family may have been exposed, it is important to get tested. Children who may have been exposed to lead-based paint should have a blood test to see if they have elevated blood levels.


Mold In The Home

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI
  • If you have ever had a leak in your house you may know how fast mold can grow. It enters your home as tiny spores; the spores need moisture to begin growing, digesting and destroying. Molds can grow on almost any surface, including; wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, and insulation. The mold grows best when there is a lot of moisture from a leaky roof, high humidity, or flood.   While there is no way to get rid all molds and mold spores completely from your home, you can take steps to prevent the growth of mold.


  •  Keep the humidity level in your home between 30% to 60% by using air conditioners or  dehumidifiers.
  • Put exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Don’t install carpets in damp areas such as basements or bathrooms.
  • Don’t let water accumulate under house plants.
  • Clean bathrooms with bleach and other mold killing products.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application. 
  • Inspect hoses, pipes and fittings - consider replacing hoses to major appliances like   washers and dishwasher every five years.

Some indications that you have mold are when you can smell the "musty" odor or see small black or white specks along your damp bathroom or basement walls. Some mold is hidden growing behind wall coverings or ceiling tiles. While most molds do not harm healthy people, people who have allergies or asthma may be more sensitive to molds. They may experience skin rash, running nose, eye irritation, cough, nasal congestion, aggravation of asthma or difficulty breathing.

If you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it is time to take action to control its growth. Depending on how sever the mold problem is, you may be able to treat the problem yourself. The EPA recommendation is that if the affected area is less than 10 square feet you can probably handle it yourself, any bigger than that it is best to hire a remediation specialist. 

  •  If you do decide to remove the mold yourself remember to wear protective gear.  Protective gear includes: goggles without ventilated openings, a N-95 respirator (this item is available a many hardware stores).  Also, don't forget the gloves; normal household cleaning gloves can be used if you are not using a biocide.  If you are going to be using a biocide you should wear natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC. 
  •  Clean-up can be as simple as cleaning the area with a chlorine bleach mixture. Other biocide options can be found at:  Dispose of anything that you can that is likely to recontaminate the area, such as rugs or paper.  
  •  Close off the contaminated area while clean up is ongoing so that further contamination does not occur.

Get This Week's Market Snapshot of Your Property.

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Cleaning Your Carpets Professionally

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

The appearance of the carpet in a home are one of the first things noticed. If you are selling your home, having your carpets professionally cleaned is an easy, cost effective way to give your house a facelift before showing prospective buyers.  Stains and worn traffic areas can disappoint potential buyers and the thought of having to replace the carpet can cause them to walk away.A quality carpet cleaning by a professional can do wonders by removing stains as well as lifting the nap of the carpet to reduce the traffic wear and giving it a fresh look.

There are many different options you have when looking for a professional to clean your carpets, below are some of the methods available. Contact a professional in your area you are not certain which method is best for your style of carpet.

Hot Water Extraction or "Steam" Cleaning
This is the most common method where a cleaning solution is sprayed on the carpet and immediately extracted (along with the dissolved soil) by a wet vacuum. Extraction equipment can be portable or truck-mounted, the latter being more powerful in terms of spray pressure, heating capabilities and power of the vacuum pumps. Hot water extraction is often referred to as "steam" cleaning and is considered by many carpet manufacturers as the most thorough method. Drying time is generally between 4 to 6 hours.

In this process a shampoo is applied to the carpet and then agitated with a brush mounted on a floor machine. The solution absorbs soil and crystallizes as it dries. Soil and shampoo are then removed through vacuuming at a later time. This method is also referred to as encapsulation. Drying time is generally between 1 to 2 hours.

 Bonnet Cleaning
This method is similar to the shampooing process in which a pre-spray is applied to the carpet and then is absorbed with cotton or synthetic bonnet pads attached to a floor machine. This removes the soil as it is absorbed on the shag pad.  When one side of the pad becomes soiled, the pad is reversed until both sides are soiled, at which time it is replaced. Drying time is generally between 1 to 2 hours.

Foam Cleaning
This system uses detergent in the form of a foam.  A machine generates a foam, which is agitated on the carpet by brushes. The foam is then removed, with trapped soil, by an extraction-vacuum pickup.

Dry Cleaning
In this process the cleaning agent, an absorbent dry compound (containing solvents and detergents) is sprinkled on the carpet and worked into the pile by a machine. It is vacuumed off after about half an hour, removing the soil suspended by the compound. Drying time is usually less than 1 hour.


Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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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
Fax: 515-453-6404



Licensed in the State of Iowa