Free Family Fun In and Around Des Moines

Friday, July 28, 2017


The shelves at Target are loaded down with school supplies, and the Iowa State Fair, the unofficial end to the summer, is just around the corner. But there's still time to enjoy the sunshine and take a little time off from work before the kids go back to school! If you don't want to travel far, there are still so many fun, free things to do close to home. These are a few of our top picks!

Des Moines Art Center

So many people make it a point to visit art museums when on vacation but forget all about the museum in our own backyard! Older kids and teens will enjoy just wondering around the center. Plus, there are programs, classes, free movies and more for all ages. You can even take a yoga class among the ar!

Racoon River Park

This West Des Moines park and recreation center has so much to do! Swimming, fishing, running, and more! There's a 3-mile trail that goes around Blue Heron Lake for biking or walking, and a huge dog park. Even if you don't own a dog, little ones who are eager for pets of their own will love to stand outside the fence and watch the dogs play. 

State Historical Museum of Iowa

This museum in Des Moine’s East Village has exhibits highlighting all our state's history and culture. Plus, there are interactive displays and things to do for kids and people of all ages. 

Community Libraries

Along with books and movies, your local public library has programs and reading hours for all ages. Here are a few to check out, and visit your local library's website for more information.

Des Moines East Side Library: Lego Tuesday on Aug. 1

Waukee Public Library: Carve Your Own Butter Creation on Aug. 4

Altoona Public Library: Game On! Game Truck Party on Aug. 25

Urbandale Public Library: Teen Chess Club on Aug. 6

Choose the Right School District

Thursday, July 20, 2017


If a high quality school district is your top priority when choosing a new home, you’re in luck! Some of the highest rated high schools in Iowa are located around the Des Moines metro area.  Newsweek recently ranked all of Iowa’s public high schools based on college enrollment, graduation weight, dual college enrollment, SAT and ACT sores and student retention. The rankings put Waukee first with Akeny and Johnston close behind at sixth and seventh respectively.  

Waukee has eight elementary schools, two middle schools, two grade eight and nine schools, and one high school. Another high school is scheduled to open in 2021 because the community has been grown so quickly. The school district is known for its strong music and theater programs, and the high school has an average ACT score of 24 and a 99 percent graduation rate. Several homes with Urbandale, Clive, and West Des Moines addresses fall into the Waukee school district, so keep that in mind as you look for homes.





Johnston has five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school and about 7,200 total students in the district. It has tons of activities, sports and clubs for students.




Ankeny is the first and, right now, only metro school district with two high schools. It has 10 elementary schools, two schools for grades six and seven, two schools for grades eight and nine, and two high schools. Ankeny has been one of the fastest-growing school districts in Iowa for more than a decade, averaging growth of 365 students annually for the last 10 years. Even with its rapid growth, Ankeny has maintained its quality. The district has a 96% daily attendance rate, and the high school has a 93.5% graduation rate. 

Why Buy New Construction?

Friday, July 14, 2017


Whether you're buying your first home or upgrading to a new home, you should consider new construction as part of your new home search. The new construction market is booming in the Des Moines area. In June, the number of new construcgtion homes in the area was up 14.7% from June 2016! That means there are plenty of options in all different locations, price ranges and styles! Here are 5 advantages to buying a new home. 

Even the most well maintained resale home will probably need a little bit of work, whether it’s touch-up paint, new carpet, or something else. WIth a brand new home, everything is new and clean, so there aren’t projects you need to worry about once you move in!


New homes have all the updated features like better insulation and windows and high-efficiency appliances. Along with being better for the environment, an energy-efficient home will probably mean lower utility bills.


Nothing will look dated in your brand new home. Most new construction homes feature design elements that people are looking for like open floor plans, large master bathrooms, and updated colors and materials throughout.


Even if you’re purchasing a new home that’s already built, you might still have the option to choose your own paint colors, finishes, cabinets and more!


With a new construction home, everything is up to code and you don't need to worry about things like lead pipes and asbestos.


Check out these  construction homes and click on the images for more information!


4 Beds, 4 Baths, $574,900 by Genesis Homes of Iowa. Call Tiffany Lofland at 515-577-3682.







4 Beds, 3 Baths, $329,000 by CCS Homes. Call Sarah Pesek at 515-556-7548.







4 Beds, 3 Baths, $453,875 by Hubbell Homes. Call Sharon Klaus at 515-771-6352 or Martha Lebron-Dykeman at 415-254-3619.







3 Beds, 2 Baths, $259,900 by Destiny Homes of Iowa. Call Linda Westergaard at 515-988-4288 or Mike Hamilton at 515-971-5927.


Ready to Sell? How Do You Know?

Friday, July 07, 2017


Your first home is probably full of memories. It might be the first big purchase you made on your own, or it might be the first place you lived with your husband or wife. Maybe it's the only home your children have ever known. Deciding to sell that first home and move on to something else is a huge decision!

If you're thinking about selling, here are a few things to consider that might mean it's time to take that leap forward!

1. Feeling Cramped?

If your family has grown since you bought your home, it might be time to upgrade to something bigger. Whether you're in desperate need of another bedroom or want a more spacious backyard, feeling cramped is one of the biggest reasons to upgrade your home. 






2. Think About Your Original Wishlist 

When you purchased your first home, you probably had to compromise on a few things. Maybe you originally planned to purchase a home with 3 bedrooms and a finished basement, but once you got serious about your budget had to forget about the basement. After a few years, you're probably better off financially and can now get exactly what you want. 





3. Location, Location, Location

Think about how your life has changed over the last few years. Do you have a new job that makes your commute a little longer than when you purchased your home? Is a good school district now more of a priority? Are you near the things and places where you like to spend your time? If a new location would make a positive impact on your life, it might be time to move. 

So Now What?

As you're thinking more about selling your home, getting an accurate assessment of its value is one of the first steps! Use our Automatic Home Valuation tool to get 3 free estimates of your home's worth, and call a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices First Realty agent to talk through all your questions.


News Archive

  1. 2018 (19)
    1. OCT (2)
      1. Search More Than 700 Open Houses!
      2. Hubbell Building a 55-and-Older Condo Community
    2. SEP (1)
      1. Pick Your Open House!
    3. AUG (2)
      1. A Suite of Services Under One Roof
      2. School Supply Drive for YESS!
    4. JUL (1)
      1. Choose Your Open House (or Houses)!
    5. JUN (3)
      1. Prepping Your Kitchen for an Open House
      2. Three Historical Homes
      3. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Receives Harris Awards
    6. MAY (2)
      1. What's Holding You Back?
      2. Is This a New Chapter?
    7. APR (2)
      1. Are You Making it Happen?
      2. Spring Tour 2018!
    8. MAR (2)
      1. Small Town Living with an Easy Commute!
      2. An HSA Home Warranty Protects YOU!
    9. FEB (1)
      1. Tips for Attending an Open House
    10. JAN (3)
      1. Shred or Keep?
      2. New First-time Home Buyers Savings Account: What You Need to Know
      3. 5 Great Homes for First-Time Buyers
  2. 2017 (21)
    1. DEC (2)
      1. Bring Some Ultra Violet Into Your Home in 2018
      2. 5 Tips for the First-time Home Buyer
    2. NOV (2)
      1. Our HomeSAFE Program Protects Your Investment!
      2. Feeling Thankful
    3. OCT (3)
      1. Townhome Living
      2. Home Financing Simplified
      3. Builder Bonus Sale!
    4. SEP (1)
      1. Signature Open House Event Preview
    5. AUG (3)
      1. Welcome to Copper Wynd Townhomes!
      2. 6 Things to Do to Prep for Your Open House
      3. Energy Efficient New Homes in Des Moines
    6. JUL (4)
      1. Free Family Fun In and Around Des Moines
      2. Choose the Right School District
      3. Why Buy New Construction?
      4. Ready to Sell? How Do You Know?
    7. JUN (3)
      1. #GoodToBeFirst Summer Giveaway
      2. 5 Homes for First-Time Buyers
      3. Bring a Pop of Color to the Kitchen
    8. MAY (1)
      1. Love Your Home Sweepstakes
    9. APR (2)
      1. 3 Things to Consider Before You Buy Your First Home
      2. 6 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home