Real Estate Information

Real Estate Information Blog

Heather Wright


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 81

Window Treatments need Cleaned too

by Heather Wright

If you’re getting ready to sell your house, you’ll want to get everything in tip top clean shape which includes your window treatments.  And, even if you’re not interested in selling - this is a great tip!  I’m the first to admit that cleaning isn’t fun but it’s got to be done.  

This tip to clean dirty blinds is really easy. You will need an old sock and equal parts of vinegar + water solution in a bowl. Slip the old sock on your hand, dip it into the vinegar and water mixture, and wipe down each individual slat on the blinds. Dip your hand (with the sock!) after every couple of slats, and squeeze it a bit to rinse off the dirt. It also helps to have a second old sock to dry all the slats once they have been cleaned. Some put the mixture in a container and spray it on the blinds and wipe it but be prepared to wash your windows then. 

Keeping window blinds looking clean and beautiful is a task that requires regular attention for best results. A clean house is one that will sell better.  If you need the name of a cleaner to come in and take care of this task (and any other cleaning jobs!) let me know and I’ll be happy to give you a few names of people that do good work.  Happy cleaning!

Selling your home during the holidays

by Heather Wright

“Should I wait until spring to list my home?” - The question sellers often wonder during the winter and holidays. In my opinion, you shouldn’t have to hold off until spring. Buyers don’t evaporate during winter, home buying is now year-round. Here’s why you should consider listing your home during the holidays or winter in general:

Buyers are always looking for properties online

21st century technology offers a lot of promises in the real estate industry. Today, homebuyers can “show” a listing in their smartphones or tablets. Serious buyers are always looking and the holidays are no exception.

Competition is usually lighter

There can be an increase in demand when inventory is traditionally low – resulting in less competition from other sellers. Conventional wisdom says to give it a rest during the holidays and that is why we end up seeing the inventory tighten up this time of year. Buyers will be always out there so you should not hesitate to list your house.

Holiday decorations are nice

It’s true – holiday decorations are nice.  Whether it’s your beautifully trimmed tree, stockings hung with care over the fireplace or candles lighting the windows – holiday decorations add a level of warmth to a home making buyers feel festive and welcome. 

Don’t want to be bothered during the holidays? List your property in January

If the thought of having your house on the market during the holidays is just TOO MUCH, that’s ok.  My recommendation would be to list in January after the 1st of the year.  The beginning of the New Year spurs a different motivation in people. Maybe they have a New Year’s resolution to invest in real estate.  Or a rich relative gave them money for down payment (Uncle Sam contributes to many down payments!)? In general, people find themselves with more time on their hands after the holidays which is perfect to start the home search.

No matter what time of year you sell I will have a custom marketing strategy available for your house that will take seasonality and timing into consideration. 

DIY: How to Clean a Fireplace

by Heather Wright

Your fireplace is often times the centerpiece to your room.  That’s true in my living room (not to mention, my dog would freeze without it!) and every so often I notice that the glass is a little dusty and/or grimy and needs a good cleaning.  Thankfully, Mr. Wright takes on that task. 

According to this article – it’s not that difficult to clean a gas fireplace. Look at the owner’s manual that comes with your model to make sure that you take the proper precautions before you begin. Of note, cleaning a gas fireplace should be done at least once a year but preferably at the beginning of winter and again at the end of winter to keep it in a good condition.

Cleaning a gas fireplace can be accomplished with little time and effort, here are the general instructions:

Step 1: Check the manufacturer’s instruction for the proper way to remove the glass panels. Once the glass panels have been removed, clean them with an ammonia-free glass cleaner or a homemade vinegar solution. Tip: A vinegar and water solution is a good glass cleaner, check out the cool uses of vinegar here.

Step 2: Use a vacuum cleaner to suction the dirt and any debris inside or around the vents of the heat exchanger. You can also use the vacuum to take care of any spider webs found in the fireplace as well. Check that the gas logs are in the proper position. If you notice any visible corrosion or damage, you may need to call a professional for repair or replacement before you use the fireplace again.

A wood burning fireplace is a different story though. Despite the advantages of owning a wood burning fireplace, cleaning can be a daunting task so you may want to leave some of the steps to the pros. Here are the steps, be aware that you will undoubtedly get dirty:

Step 1: Shovel up the ashes, place in a bag, and dispose of it. Simple enough, but you need to note that wood ashes need only be removed when they begin to smell or get in the way of fire building.

Step 2: Clean the inside and the outside of the glass doors (if it has one) with a glass cleaner.

Step 3: The last step requires professional cleaning especially if you are a heavy user. The chimney should be inspected annually and professionally cleaned every other year to avoid chimney fires.

Are your chimney and fireplace ready for winter? If your house is for sale – then you really want everything to sparkle so you should definitely clean the fireplace. Call me to discuss how I can help you impress future home buyers with my marketing strategies.

Do More in Des Moines

by Heather Wright

How do I like living in Iowa? I love it! I’m sure my friends in Florida don’t understand but it’s true.  Des Moines is a great place to work, live and play.  Unless you’re a workaholic (ahem) you should be able to live a nice balanced life here.  Have a good job with time to enjoy your life.  

Just this year, Iowa and Des Moines have ranked high (or even top!) on several national lists and surveys.

#5 “Best US States for Young Adults"

Let’s start with Iowa. According to the most recent study from Moneyrates, Iowa is the 5th best US state for young adults. The study consists of 8 criteria that matters to young people and those are: youth unemployment, demographics, college costs, rental availability, rental costs, high-speed Internet, nightlife, and fitness facilities. So for all the budding young professionals, you may want to try and start your career in Iowa.And, when you’re tired of renting, give me a call.  

#12 "Best States for Business"

12th best state according to Forbes. With a low start up cost for business and low unemployment rate, it’s no wonder why Iowa is one of the best states for business. Iowa has expanded on a wide range of industries including manufacturing, food processing, financial services and biotechnology – and not just agriculture anymore.


#15 “America's Most Productive Metros”

Des Moines is top 15 out of the 20 most productive metros with a Real GDP Per Capita of $61,777. Check out this article from The Atlantic Cities



Three Best Cities to Start a Business

Are you wondering why Forbes included Des Moines as one of the best cities for entrepreneurs? Well according to them, the business costs are 17% lower than the national average (meaning you’ll need less capital to start) and that Des Moines has the highest concentration of financial services in the US.


#1 "Best Places for Business and Careers"

Des Moines sure is amazing! Wells Fargo and Principal Financial will be expanding in Des Moines. And say hello to the tech giants, Facebook and Microsoft as well! Check out my previous blog to read more on this ranking from Forbes.



#2 "Strongest Local Economy"
And here’s the list from Policom’s annual analysis of the nation’s economies. Des Moines’ economy is growing – no doubt about it.


2013 Ten Strongest Metropolitan Areas:

1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

2 Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

3 Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

4 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX

5 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

6 Madison, WI

7 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

8 Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX

9 Sioux Falls, SD

10 Kansas City, MO-KS 


#3 "Top 15 U.S. Cities' Emerging Downtowns"

Forbes just loves Des Moines! (This seems like a no brainer, right?) Des Moines is constantly growing as the most populous city in Iowa. The local population is around 206,688 residents, which includes a large population of young professionals ages 25 to 34 (16%).

#2 "Best Cities to Start a Business"

The Street  ranks Des Moines 2nd best city to start a business. People are relocating to Des Moines simply because the quality of life is far better than anywhere else. The costs of food fuel, car insurance, etc are definitely lower than in other metro hubs. People appreciate that in any economy, especially a troubled one, and that’s why it’s a great place to start your own business. And not just a farm!

All signs point to Des Moines (and surrounding communities!) being amazing.  I can attest to that.  Take a closer look for yourself and visit Des Moines, you may never want to leave.

Tips for selling your home in Winter

by Heather Wright

Winter is coming. Be prepared to put more effort in selling your home given the unpredictable weather. Good news is that most buyers looking in the winter are serious enough about finding a new home at a time most people would rather stay inside. And anyway, you can heat up the chances of selling your home in winter with smart staging strategies. Here are a few tips to make your home sparkle in the snow:

Start with the exterior and clear a path

This will be the first tip an agent can give you. As with any time of the year, make sure that your home looks well maintained and cared for. Just like trimming the lawn in the summer, you should keep the snow and ice at bay in the winter. If a potential buyer can’t get easily (or if he even falls), then expect that the house won’t sell. Always, always make sure that the walkways are safe. Curb appeal is very important, first impressions last!

Take advantage of the holiday season – DECORATE!

Make it festive but don’t go overboard! Elegant holiday decorations can add festivity to your home. A simple wreath, twinkling lights, or lightly scented holiday candles can make buyers feel welcome and lift up their spirits. Your home should be as inviting as possible so buyers can envision living in your home.

Warm it up

Warm and cozy is the key! Before the buyer sees your home, adjust the thermostat to a comfortable level – between 67 and 70 degrees. Do not light candles and start the fireplace for obvious safety reasons. Instead, you can highlight a functional fireplace. If possible, turn on all the lights.  Even during the day – winter days can provide dim lighting.  Pull back the drapes to let as much natural light as possible.  Let’s face it – nice natural light and warmth will help your home make a better presentation.  

Make it festive

Lastly, winter is the prime time for festive parties. Showcase the entertaining possibilities of your home by setting the dinner table with good china and silver. You would want to reflect the possibilities your home has for entertaining guests. Have a plate of cookies ready for your guests, or even some warm cider and hot coffee if the weather is cold.

There’s no reason to wait until spring before you sell your home.  As an expert, I can help you sell your home even on the grayest days. Call me so I can discuss my marketing strategies and how we can take advantage of the holiday season to get you a premium price for your house.

Stress-free move for our pets

by Heather Wright

Moving is stressful enough on humans, just imagine how it will be for your pets. They don’t like changes to their usual routine so you can expect them to behave differently when they’re stressed. Here are some helpful tips for easing the transition and keeping your pets safe during the move:

Visit the veterinarian

If you’re moving far enough and will need a new vet then make sure that a couple of weeks before moving, request a copy of veterinary records. You can also ask your current vet if they have any referrals or recommendations at your new place. Think ahead for your pet’s health – don’t forget to stock up on all prescriptions. Ask if you can get a pet sedative (especially for your senior pets) to calm their nerves for the trip.

Make travel arrangements

If your move involves air travel, contact airline carriers a month in advance. Ask them about requirements and restrictions. If you’re traveling by car, keep cats &dogs in carriers large enough to accommodate food and water bowls (plus a small litter box for the kitties). Dogs also have the option of using a restraining harness. The recommendations I found during my research say to pull over at least every 2 hours to allow your pet to stretch its legs and relieve itself. Have plenty of plastic bags and kitty litter on hand. If you have a fish, you can put it in a plastic bag with water (not advisable for long drives).

Prep your pet for your new home

Expect your pets to be a little frightened or totally confused in the new surroundings. Upon your arrival, immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pets need: food, water, treats, medications, bed, litter box, and toys. Introduce them to the new surroundings slowly and be aware of their needs. If your old home is nearby, your pet may try to go back.

Remember, while your pets may not understand exactly what is going on, they can sense the stress that the family is experiencing.These furry friends are a part of your life so it is very important that you make the process as painless as possible.Make sure that your new place allows pets. I specialize in real estate and I can help you find the “Wright” home – for you and your pets. I’m here to make your home selling and home buying experience easy so call me!

Winter Farmer’s Market

by Heather Wright

Happy Holidays!

If you missed the Downtown Farmer’s Market during the summer months, then you’re in luck because I have just the thing for you – the Winter Market! The Downtown Farmers’ Market returns on November 22-23 and December 13-14 at the Capital Square and Kaleidoscope Mall in Downtown Des Moines.

The holidays are almost here and this is the perfect opportunity to stock up for meals, parties, and gifts! There are over 120 vendors who will be selling a variety of products. Locally raised stuff like turkeys, beef, pork, duck, eggs, holiday hams, and a variety of late season and greenhouse produce while homemade products include locally produced honey, salsa, wine, jams, cheese, noodles, breads, pies and cinnamon rolls.

In addition to all the scrumptious food, there will be poinsettias, fresh cut Christmas trees and wreaths, holiday ornaments and much more! Roam the market and be amazed at all the goodies you’ll find. 

It’s going to be a long winter so go get ready and prepare your shopping lists. Take advantage of this event and support our local agriculture by buying directly from Iowa farmers because Farmer’s Market won’t be back until next May. Stop by the Winter Market for food and festive music, the perfect event to kick-off the holiday season!

Trostel's Greenbriar

by Heather Wright

Would you like to know where to get the BEST burger in town?  No, I really mean the BEST. 

It’s unexpected but it’s actually my favorite restaurant in Johnston – Trostel’s Greenbriar.  They are my kitchen away from home. It’s true, I can’t tell you how many times a week we’re exhausted and haven’t planned for dinner - call them up and it's ready in 15 minutes!​

Anyway, it’s a great go to place to eat for lunch or dinner.  You might note – Monday’s lunch special is a burger and beer for $10.  Personally, I passed on the beer – burger only.  Still worth every penny. 

Your car, and garage wall, will thank you.

by Heather Wright

You’re welcome.

DIY – How to “beautify” alarm panels

by Heather Wright

For many of us, alarm panels aren’t a big deal – they’re just there, right?  I saw this post on Pinterest and though it was a nice idea to hide the alarm – make that space beautiful again!  How do you get rid of that ugliness within a tight budget? Easy - The Third Boob shows us how with this very simple yet very lovely DIY.

Choose your own painting or photo canvas of your loved one. You will also need flat hinges you can get in a hardware store for cheap and follow these steps:

Step 1: Attach two flat hinges to your canvas print and then to the wall.

Step 2: Voila! Easy, right?

Hiding your alarm panel may offer additional security by keeping the intruders unable to find the alarm until the authorities are notified. This trick could work with many eyesores on your wall – anything that can be concealed but will still function properly such as phone plugs, fuse box, or even a safe.  Although, when it’s time for me to sell your house – we’ll come up with a plan so people can FIND the alarm!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 81