View Current E-Newsletter | View Previous E-Newsletters Have our E-Newsletters emailed to you

Don't be fooled by online home valuations

HouseWorthWhat.png Thinking about selling your home and moving in the next year? Many home owners have made the mistake of going to websites to see what their home was worth. Zillow has Zestimates, Trulia's Home Valuation, and other valuations based on your assessed value can all incorrectly price your home.

No website or computer generated formula can tell you what your home will sell for or when the best time to sell your home is. That website has never been inside your home or in your neighborhood. That website does not know the condition of your home or the condition of the home down the street that just sold.

Realtors never give market analysis without seeing the home. The only true way to get the market value of your home - what the market "says" it is worth - is to step inside, walk around and view the home, inside and out. Discovering what updates have been completed since the purchase of the home. It is extremely important to see the condition of the home and what the neighborhood looks like. Armed with that knowledge, a Realtor then compares it to recent sales in the area to give you the best "market" value for your home - or what the market says your home should sell for.

So don't be fooled by online valuations of your home. Trust the experience and knowledge of a professional agent to evaluate your home so your home sells for the right price.

Winterizing your Home

HouseScarf.png You'll get a season's worth of savings and peace of mind by taking a few steps in the fall to get your home ready for cold weather.
  • Gutters & Roofs - Clean leaves and other debris to allow rain and snow to properly drain. Debris may cause ice dams to form, which may cause added weight with the potential of damaging gutters, with extra water possibly entering the house and causing mold. Replace missing shingles.
  • Block Leaks - Both inside and out to keep cold air from entering, check window frames, door frames, and electrical outlets. Walk around your home on breezy day & check seams.
  • Add Insulation - attics should have a minimum of 12 inches of insulation.
  • Check Heating & Cooling System - turn on the furnace to insure proper function before winter hits. Remove leaves and debris from outdoor cooling units & protect with waterproof cover; remove window air conditioners.
  • Inspect Chimney & Fireplaces - check for animals & proper ventilating, glass doors can be installed for insulation.
  • Reverse Ceiling Fans - reversing ceiling fans will push heat down & recirculate that air.
  • Wrap Pipes - to prevent pipes from bursting.
  • Check Alarms - change batteries & test with a little bit of actual smoke to insure proper functioning. (Tip: Smoke Alarms are recommended to be changed every 10 years)

Volunteering this Holiday
Great for the Community & Good for you too!

GiveBackSeason.png Volunteering is a great way to make a positive impact in your community, and it really does make you feel good. You may not think that your time will help others, but it will. Here is how to volunteer in your community.
  • Volunteer at the soup kitchen -You can either donate food items, pick up donated food, serve food, prepare food, or even offer administrative assistance.
  • Volunteer at the hospital -You may sit at a reception desk and greet people, or you may be asked to deliver flowers to patient rooms.
  • Volunteer at school - You are given fun tasks like reading to children, assisting on field trips, preparing bulletin boards, or simply helping the teacher.
  • Volunteer as a mentor -You can volunteer as a mentor and make an amazing difference in the life of a child. Organizations such as Big Brother or Big Sister, or even the Boys and Girls Club are excellent ways to volunteer as a mentor.
  • Volunteer at church -You can volunteer at church by offering to work in the day care room, teach a Sunday school class, organize a church function, clean the church, and much more.
  • Volunteer to deliver meals -Not only do you deliver a hot meal, but you are offering the warmth of companionship to elderly people that are sometimes very lonely individuals.
  • Volunteer at Coats for Kids -The goal of Coats for Kids is, "They ensure that every child who needs a winter coat receives one." If your community does not already participate in the Coats for Kids Foundation, then YOU can get it
  • Volunteer at the animal shelter -They are always looking for people to walk dogs, feed the animals, clean up after the animals, and help the animals find new homes.
Now that you know the various ways to volunteer in your community, get going! Volunteering is a great way to feel good about yourself, release stress, and help others in the process. Once you see how rewarding it is to volunteer in your community, you may have a hard time deciding where to stop.

Thanksgiving Timeline Cheat Sheet: Whether you're a first-time holiday hostess or just looking for a better way to plan, a day-to-day timeline will help you throw a fabulous Thanksgiving party with ease.

Use a Cooler as a Fridge: Clear out space-hogging bottles of dressing and pickles, and stow them in the garage in a cooler filled with ice packs. Also store beverages in the cooler instead of taking up valuable refrigerator real estate.

Make an Edible Turkey Rack: Forget hard-to-clean, traditional roasting racks! Instead, crisscross whole carrots and celery stalks on the bottom of the roasting pan, and top with your chicken or turkey. Once it's done, your bird will emerge from the pan without a hitch, and the pan gravy will be enhanced by the vegetables!

Easy Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids: Keep small children entertained with crafts that work double as decorations.

Set up a Snack Station: Save kids from hunger and boredom while waiting on Thanksgiving dinner by setting up a fun snack-mix station where they can help themselves to a custom sweet-and-salty creation topped by their own artwork.

Host Weekend Guests like a Pro: Many times Thanksgiving guests stay multiple days. Make sure they feel comfortable by cleaning linens and towels. Have snacks and beverages available at their arrival. Don't forget to plan ahead and have easy grab-and-go breakfast items available for early risers.

Storing Thanksgiving Leftovers: A good rule of thumb for food safety is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Make sure you have storage containers clean and ready for post dinner clean up. Another fun idea is to have individual serving boxes to send leftovers or dessert home with your guests.

"Rock On" In Retirement Symposium

The 3rd annual "Rock On" In Retirement symposium will be held Tuesday, November 10, 2015 in the Reiman Ballroom at the ISU Alumni Center.

This program is free and open to the public. The first 175 who register will receive a tote bag packed with wonderful goodies provided by our sponsors and lunch. Registration is available online at or by calling 515-294-3192 or 515-294-6515.

Activities begin at 8:30 AM with a welcome and introduction of our sponsors. There will be three sessions covering a variety of topics related to successful aging. Each session will last about an hour and will include time for questions.
Speakers include:
Kurt Ahrens will present "Estate Planning - Don't Let Someone Else Decide Who Gets What"
JoAnn Hesse will present "How to Declutter, Downsize, and What to Do with It"
Brett McLain, Story County Director of Veterans Affairs will present "Story County Veterans Affairs" and Ross Rethmeier from Social Security Administration will present "The Basics of Social Security".

Breaks separating presentations will allow for participants to visit with our sponsors and enjoy light refreshments. All participants are eligible for door prizes and sponsor drawings. At the conclusion of the presentation and wrap-up, a free lunch catered by Depot Deli and Cookies, Etc. (for the first 175 who preregistered) will be available. Those who choose to stay will have additional opportunities to visit with our sponsors and others.

November Area Events

34th Annual Santa's North Pole Village Craft Show
Nov. 7 from 9am-4pm
Northview Middle School, Parkview Middle School, Prairie Ridge Middle School in Ankeny

Christmas Open Houses
Nov. 7 from 5pm-7pm
Downtown, Nevada

The Fab Four
Nov. 8 at 7:30pm
Stephens Auditorium, ISU, Ames

Ames Historical Society 35th Anniversary Bash!
Nov. 13 from 5pm-8pm
Ames History Center, Ames

SnowMagic2015.png Snow Magic Kickoff
Nov. 13 from 5pm-8pm
Downtown, Ames
Festival of Trees
Nov. 13-29
Octagon Center for the Arts, Ames

Iowa's Premier Beer, Wine & Food Expo
Nov. 13 from 4pm-10pm
Nov. 14 from 1pm-8pm
Hy-Vee Hall, Des Moines

ABWA Craft Show
Nov. 14 & 15
Gates Hall & Nevada High School, Nevada

Candyland Christmas in Boone: Holiday Open House
Nov. 14 & 15
Downtown, Boone

Trans-Siberian Orchestra 2015 Winter Tour
Nov. 19 at 7:30pm
Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines

Jingle in the Junction
Nov. 19 from 5pm-9pm
Valley Junction, WDSM

Downtown Farmers' Winter Market
Nov. 20-21
Kaleidoscope at the hub & Capital Square, Des Moines

Iowa's Largest Arts & Crafts Show
Nov. 20 from 5pm-9pm
Nov. 21 from 9am-5pm
Nov. 22 from 10am-4pm
Varied Industries Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines

Nov. 21 from 12pm-1pm
North Grand Mall, Ames

Natural Advent Calendar
Nov. 22 from 1p-3pm
Iowa Arboretum, Madrid
Jolly Holiday Lights
Nov. 24-Jan. 1
Water Works Park, Des Moines

Festival of Trees and Lights 2015
Nov. 25-29
Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center

Yulefest Tree Lighting
Nov. 27
Downtown, Story City

Santa Express
Nov. 27 at 5:30pm
Nov. 28 at 10am, 12:30pm, 3pm, & 5:30pm
Nov. 29 at 12:30pm & 3pm
Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, Boone

Spirit of the Season Kick-off Event
Nov. 28 from 5pm-8pm
Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines

Mythbusters: Jamie and Adam Unleashed!
Nov. 30 at 7pm
Stephens Auditorium, ISU, Ames

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Dec. 3 at 6:30pm
Stephens Auditorium, Ames


Market Numbers

Ames 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 130 112
Homes SOLD YTD 578 510
Average Sale Price $221,495 $204,805
Average Days on Market 41 46
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 96.9% 96.9%
Story County 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 111 114
Homes SOLD YTD 285 276
Average Sale Price $159,707 $143,319
Average Days on Market 67 72
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 96.0% 93.7%
Based on Sales information as reported to the Central Iowa Multiple Listing Service as of 11/1/2015
Ames - Ames Residential and Rural Subdivisions
Story County - Residential, excluding Ames Residential and Ames Rural Subdivisions

Market Numbers

Ankeny Single Family 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 315 395
Homes SOLD YTD 1175 952
Average Sale Price $255,049 $243,135
Average Days on Market 61 67
Ankeny Condo/TH 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 97 114
Condo/TH SOLD YTD 363 307
Average Sale Price $151,597 $139,447
Average Days on Market 63 90
Based on Sales information as reported to the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors as of 11/1/2015

Market Numbers

Boone 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 101 119
Homes SOLD YTD 232 201
Average Sale Price $117,512 $114,256
Average Days on Market 79 114
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 94.5% 92.0%
Boone County 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 130 136
Homes SOLD YTD 303 288
Average Sale Price $125,990 $121,404
Average Days on Market 78 104
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 94.5% 92.5%
Based on Sales information as reported to the Central Iowa Multiple Listing Service as of 11/1/2015
City of Boone
Boone County - Residential

Market Numbers

Nevada 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 59 55
Homes SOLD YTD 139 131
Average Sale Price $144,459 $125,933
Average Days on Market 59 68
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 95.7% 91.8%
Story County 2015 2014
11/1/2015 Active listings 111 114
Homes SOLD YTD 285 276
Average Sale Price $159,707 $143,319
Average Days on Market 67 72
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 96.0% 93.7%
Based on Sales information as reported to the Central Iowa Multiple Listing Service as of 11/1/2015
Nevada - includes communities of Nevada, Maxwell, Colo, Cambridge, Collins, McCallsburg and Zearing.
Story County - Residential, excluding Ames Residential and Ames Rural Subdivisions