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Rest easy, make sure you're covered.

SumpPumpInsurance.png With the recent disaster in Texas, I am sure many of us are very glad that we don't live there or have to go through the clean-up of our homes. But, how many of you wondered, "what if?"

While we don't have to worry about a hurricane here in Iowa, we do occasionally get heavy rains. What if we get a heavy rain and the sump pump failed? Even if it is only a couple of inches of water throughout the entire basement - there will still be a lot of clean up to deal with.

This is a common question among homeowners with sump pumps, and the answer can vary. In most cases, a standard homeowners' insurance policy does not provide coverage for water damage caused by a sump pump failure. However, this type of coverage can be easily added on to your homeowners' policy in the form of what's called an "endorsement."

With most homeowners policies, this endorsement can be purchased at a low cost and will provide coverage for damage caused by backed-up water. This includes coverage for items damaged by the water, as well as the cost of cleaning up the water in your home, provided that the loss was not caused by the homeowner's negligence.

Most of the time when you purchase a home, your insurance representative would have noted the finished basement and encouraged you to add the endorsement. If you have a finished basement, a quick call to your insurance rep to confirm coverage is an easy way to give yourself a piece of mind the next time the heavy rains start.
 
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Ready your home so you can savor the fall season.

Fall is a glorious season. With blazing leaves and roaring fires, apple picking, harvest festivals and sweater weather, there is so much to look forward to. Kick off this busy season by taking the time now to prepare your home, incorporating both important tasks (like cleaning the chimney) and pure pleasures (like treating yourself to a luxe bath product).
  • Inspect the roof, gutters and drainpipes. If any branches and leaves fell during summer storms, remove them so they don't cause blockages during autumn rains. Inspecting your roof now will leave ample time to have repairs or a replacement made before winter.
  • Move firewood to a covered area. Be sure to check for insects before bringing any wood indoors. Don't store wood with bugs, especially termites, indoors (or against the outside of your house).
  • Have chimneys cleaned before you light that first autumn fire. Residue buildup and blockages in chimneys are a common cause of house fires, so be sure to have a pro take a look before sparking that first flame.
  • Organize the entry. Think ahead and give every type of item a home. That means baskets and bins for accessories, hooks for jackets and bags, and shelves or metal trays for shoes and boots.
  • Tidy the porch. Sweep away dirt and sand, clean the front windows and door, check porch lights and add a few extras like hurricane lanterns or autumnal potted plants.
  • Check lighting throughout your home. As the autumn sun dips lower in the sky, you may find you crave a little extra light in your rooms. A few small table lamps or even a strand of twinkle lights can make all the difference in creating a cozy ambience.
  • Swap out bedding. Bring cozy quilts and duvets out of storage so they will be within reach on that first chilly night. Check now if anything needs to be laundered and you'll have time to wash it before you really need it.
Now, sit back and enjoy a well-deserved rest on your clean porch with a cup of pumpkin spice tea or coffee. Bring on Fall!

For more fall preparation ideas visit Houzz: Ready Your Home for Fall to Savor the Season More.
 

Fall Planting Tips

Maybe you're a gardening pro, maybe you're a little rusty on what to do in the fall, or maybe you're like me (born with a black thumb and kill every plant you touch)- never fear! These tips are great for every stage of gardener and will get your home looking inviting and beautiful in no time! These tips are great whether you are planning to sell your house next year sometime, are trying to sell it now, want the home you've just bought to look homey, or just want a little gardening fun!

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  • Classic Chrysanthemum. Mums have become the go-to plants for a fall garden. Plant blooming mums in the fall in well-draining soil about a month before the first frost for quick color. Then cut them back to about 8 inches above the ground when they finish blooming. Visit Houzz: 20 Favorite Flowers for the Fall Landscape.
  • Spring Bulbs! Plant your spring bulbs now when the nights are consistently 40-50 degrees to see gorgeous tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, grape hyacinth, crocus, snowdrops, and scilla. If you get your bulbs early (before the temperatures are right to plant them), store them in a cool dry place for up to a month.
  • Updating your containers. After removing summer annuals past their prime, fill in the gaps with cool-season bloomers in fall colors.
    • Add bold foliage plants. Swap tired warm-season flowers for richly colored foliage plants, leaving mature evergreens and long-lasting perennials in place.
    • Tuck in cool-season flowers. Pansies are actually some of the most cold-tolerant annual flowers. Choose pansies in vibrant hues like orange, gold, red and deep purple or bicolored combinations.
    • Plant an ornamental grass for instant drama. To give some serious pizazz to existing container gardens by adding just one plant, reach for purple fountain grass.
    • Play up texture. Consider adding one or more textural ingredients like plants with berries, twiggy branches, grassy leaves or broad foliage. Add texture without planting by sticking dried curly willow branches or ornamental seedpods from floral displays into the pot.
    • Pop in late-blooming perennials. Try the readily available fall favorites: coneflowers and black-eyed Susans.
Read more about Fall planting ideas on our blog.
 

September 2017 Area Events

Pufferbilly Days
September 7-10
Boone, IA

A Chorus Line
Friday September 8 at 7:30 pm Until October 1
Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines

Main Street Tailgate with Canaan Smith
Friday September 8 at 5:00 pm-9:30 pm
Main Street Cultural District, Ames

Full Moon High Trestle Bridge Bike Ride
Saturday September 9 at 7:00-10:00 pm
Slater Trail Head or Madrid Trail Head Slater

Monarch Migration Madness
Sunday September 10 at 1:30-2:30 pm
McFarland Park, Ames

Fall Fungas Foraging
Sunday September 10 at 3:00-4:30 pm
McFarland Park, Ames

Yaro Dance Company Presents Fantasia
Sunday September 10 at 5:30 pm
Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines

The Great Ames Adventure Race
Sunday September 10 at 7:30 am
Ada Hayden Heritage Park, Ames

Fall Antique Jamboree
Sunday September 10 at 8:00 am-4:00 pm
HistoricValley Junction,West Des Moines

Fall Gardening
Tuesday September 12 at 6:00-7:00 pm
Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines

World Food & Music Festival
September 15-17 11:00 am
Downtown Des Moines

Tim Allen
Friday September 15 at 8:00 pm
Stephens Auditorium, 1900 Center Drive Ames

Day Out with Thomas
September 16-22
September 22-24
Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad

Oktoberfest
Saturday September 16 at 1:00-10:00 pm
Main Street Cultural District, Ames

Nitefall on the River
Saturday September 16 at 7:00 pm
Brenton Skating Plaza, Des Moines

Stormtrooper Sprint and Jedi Jog 5K Fun Run
Saturday September 16 at All Day
Brookside Park, Ames

Monarch Festival
Sunday September 17 at Noon-4:00 pm
Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines

World Rhino Day
Sunday September 24 at 10:00 am-2:00 pm
Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines

Octagon Art Festival
Sunday September 24 at 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Main Street Cultural District, Ames

ArbFeast
Sunday September 24 at 1:00-4:00 pm
Iowa Arboretum, Madrid

ArtRAGEous
Sunday September 24 at 3:00 pm
Stephens Auditorium, 1900 Center Drive Ames

Des Moines Arts & Crafts Show
Friday September 29 at 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Saturday September 30 at 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday October 1 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Varied Industries Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds

The Reluctant Dragon
Friday September 29 at 9:30 am, 10:45 am, 1:30 pm
Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines

Last Saturday Stoll
Saturday September 30 at 10:00-11:30 am
Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines

Dueling Pianos
Saturday September 30 at 7:00 pm
Iowa Talent Factory, Nevada

Bonsai Show
Saturday September 30 at 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Sunday October 1 at 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Reiman Gardens, Ames

Flip Fabrique
Sunday October 1 at 3:00pm
Stephens Auditorium, ISU, Ames

Chris Stapleton's All-American Road Show
Friday October 6 at 7:00 pm
Iowa Events Center, Des Moines



 

Market Numbers

Ames 2017 2016
Sept. 5 Active listings 157 152
Homes SOLD YTD 465 471
Average Sale Price $254,870 $230,099
Average Days on Market 44 42
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 96.9% 97.1%
Story County 2017 2016
Sept. 5 Active listings 97 102
Homes SOLD YTD 250 234
Average Sale Price $166,699 $168,827
Average Days on Market 52 60
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 96.3% 96.4%
Based on Sales information as reported to the Central Iowa Multiple Listing Service as of 9/5/2017
Ames - Ames Residential and Rural Subdivisions
Story County - Residential, excluding Ames Residential and Ames Rural Subdivisions