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Have You Outgrown Your Marion or Cedar Rapids Home?

by Heather Morris

That home in Marion or Cedar Rapids that seemed just right a few years ago might not have the same effect on you now. A so-called “starter home” may have been the perfect fit back then, and it was an excellent way to get into the housing market. On the other hand, that big rambling home with the huge yard was great when the kids were home, but now it’s just one more thing keeping you from what you want to do in your free time. Here are some telltale signs that let you know you may have outgrown your current home.

Your family has grown. Whether you’ve added children to your household or have welcomed aging parents into your home, it may feel like it’s bursting at the seams right about now. The bedrooms have filled up and individuals’ belongings are spilling into the common areas. It’s time to upsize.

You’re getting older. Your children have all left to make homes of their own, and now you have too many empty rooms and extra bathrooms to clean. That big yard that was perfect for football games is now one more never ending chore on your long to-do list. It’s time to downsize.

You have more stuff. Couples and families tend to accumulate items over time, whether it’s more furniture or more toys for children or adults. Maybe you’ve discovered the fun of entertaining, and have a need for both more storage and more common space. As your lifestyle has changed over the years, your home may not have been able to keep up with the increasing demand for space and storage. It’s time for a change.

Now what? Well, you could always sell some of your things, or rent out a room or two, but these aren’t always the best solutions. Sometimes you just need to find a home better suited to your needs.

When the walls are closing in on you, or the echo in the upstairs bedrooms gets too loud, give me a call. With my local knowledge and professional expertise, I can find the perfect buyer for your current home, and find you the perfect home for your evolving lifestyle.

 

Heather Morris Realtor
Skogman Realty
341 8th Avenue
Marion, IA 52302
319-350-7653 (SOLD)
www.heathermorrisrealtor.com

Feeling the Burn in Marion and Cedar Rapids

by Heather Morris

With the cooler weather arriving, many of us here in Marion and Cedar Rapids are getting less exercise than we did during the summer…or at least that’s how it may seem. Did you know that cleaning your home is a great way to get exercise? It can be just as physically beneficial as spending an hour at the gym. What’s more, if you know how hard you’re working out, you’ll benefit even more.

Apartment Therapy recently released the results of a study that followed 84 hotel housekeepers. Half of the group was told which muscle groups they were using and the number of calories they were burning, and the other half wasn’t given any of that information. A month later, the group in the know had lost more weight, and lowered their blood pressure and BMI more than the other group. Since they were all doing the same activities, the results seem to point to the workers’ state of mind while doing the chores. Those who knew what was at stake were more likely to take advantage of the health benefits on offer.

When you’re at work cleaning your own home, keep in mind the following health information. It may just help you get more out of the work than simply a clean home.

Scrubbing floors – 325/calories hour. To maximize stretching and toning, get on your hands and knees.

Stairs – 250 calories/hour. Switch it up and don’t clean one floor all at once. The more frequently you climb, the more you’ll get out of it.

Vacuuming/sweeping – 240 calories/hour. Put on some music and make it an aerobics session. Chances are you’ll move faster.

Giving the change in the season, don’t forget your outside chores, too. Raking leaves can burn up to 235 calories/hour, mowing the lawn (not on a riding mower) comes in at 325 calories/hour, and shoveling snow gets you a whopping 415 calories/hour. Just be careful not to overdo it, and use your knees to lift heavy shovels.

Heather Morris
Skogman Realty
341 8th Avenue
Marion IA 52302
319-350-7653 (SOLD)
www.heathermorrisrealtor.com

Ready for Fall in Marion and Cedar Rapids

by Heather Morris

Just because the temperatures here in Marion and Cedar Rapids are dropping doesn’t mean that the gardening season is over. A little forethought and effort now will pay off big next spring, and may even help keep the days a little brighter as they grow shorter.

First of all, give everything in your yard a good watering, even the trees. They’ll need plenty of moisture to make it through the winter in good health. Also, this is an excellent time to plant shrubs and evergreens. Be sure to give any new plantings a good drink, too. If you need more information about how to plant trees and shrubs, have a look at this tutorial from This Old House.

Fall is also the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. If deer or rabbits are a problem in your area, choose pest-resistant bulbs such as daffodils, allium, grape hyacinth, or dog-toothed violets. Different types of bulbs have different needs, so be sure to follow planting instructions carefully.

The summer blooming season is over, but that doesn’t mean that your landscape needs to suffer. Garden stores are full of colorful fall annuals at the moment – mums, pansies, and ornamental kale, for example – that can keep your garden momentum going for a bit longer. A great front walkway or a snappy backyard can brighten up your day, and if you’re thinking of listing your home for sale, they can also help tip the scales in your favor with prospective buyers.

Autumn in Eastern Iowa is a fantastic time of year, and it’s also a great time to meet your real estate goals. Mortgage interest rates remain very attractive, and with the summer rush behind us, everyone has more time to dedicate to making the process as smooth as possible. Give me a call today, or stop by the office for a chat. With my local knowledge and professional expertise, this fall may just be the best time to meet your property goals.

 

Heather Morris

Skogman Realty

341 8th Avenue

Marion IA  52302

319-350-7653 (SOLD)

www.heathermorrisrealtor.com

Green Facts for Marion and Cedar Rapids Homeowners

by Heather Morris

Eco-friendly claims are the “little black dress” of marketing these days – nearly everybody has one, and they work on so many occasions. Lots of products are sporting “green” labels, but how do you know if they’re genuinely good for the environment? Here are some tips to help savvy Marion and Cedar Rapids homeowners make informed choices.

“Natural” is a completely unregulated term. While artificial ingredients can certainly cause health and ecological problems, so can natural ones. Think of what ammonia can do to an unsuspecting user. On the other hand, a product labeled “organic” by law must be produced without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, irradiation, or bioengineering according to the USDA.

CFLs, compact fluorescent light bulbs, are not always the best choice for replacing incandescent bulbs. It’s true that they are 75% more efficient than traditional bulbs, but they have their drawbacks. They don’t do well in enclosed fixtures, they don’t like humid places such as bathrooms, and because they contain mercury, disposing of them can be awkward. Consider LED, light emitting diode, bulbs instead. While they are more expensive than CFLs, they last up to five times longer. Another option is an incandescent halogen. They’re more costly than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they can last up to three times longer and use 25-30% less electricity in the process.

Replacing a pre-1993 refrigerator is a good bet, but that doesn’t mean you should simply move it to the basement to hold a stash of beer. That doesn’t count as recycling, nor does simply dropping it off at the landfill. Many utility companies will come and pick it up for you, and some may even pay a small rebate for it. What’s more, the increased energy efficiency of new models will save you $100-$200 per year on your energy bills.

Reliable information is always the best way to ensure you’re getting the most for your investment, and real estate is no different. When you’re ready to buy or sell here in the Marion and Cedar Rapids region, make sure you have a trusted professional in your corner. Call me, and let me fill you in on all of the facts that will make your experience the best it can be.

 

Heather Morris

Skogman Realty

341 8th Avenue

Marion, IA 52302

319-350-7653 (SOLD)

 

www.heathermorrisrealtor.com

The Best Bang for Your Bathroom Buck in Marion & Cedar Rapids

by Heather Morris

Summer often finds Marion and Cedar Rapids homeowners thinking of home improvement projects that will not only make their home lives better now, but will also help them at some point down the road when it’s time to sell. Kitchens may come to mind as the place for great returns on renovation investment dollars, but bathrooms can also be excellent candidates.

According to Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, a well-done bathroom remodel may return up to 80% of your investment at resale time. One of the most visible features in your bathroom is the sink, and there are a number of styles and features from which to choose. Before you run out to buy, however, make sure you know not only what sort of design statement you want to make but also what sort of sink will best fit your space.

There are five basic styles of bathroom sinks, and the type you choose will impact other features of your bathroom as well, such as the vanity and countertop, cabinet knobs, and control handles not only on the sink but also on the shower and/or tub. Plus, the size of your bathroom will also play an important part in your decision.

Wall-mounted sinks are great for smaller spaces, but depending upon the type of plumbing they require, their installation may be more involved. One-piece sinks, often with pedestal bases, are simpler to install and their bases hide the plumbing and drain lines. The drawback with these choices is that they offer little or no built-in storage possibilities.

Drop-in sinks require a suitably sized hole in the vanity or countertop that will allow the sink bowl to fit inside while supporting the sink’s rim flush on the surface. By contrast, under-mount sinks are installed beneath the countertop and require a finished edge above. Vessel sinks are very popular choices at the moment. They resemble a freestanding bowl resting on top of the sink base, and many come prepackaged with an integrated faucet or vanity.

Whatever statement you decide to make with your bathroom remodel, remember that the best way to get the biggest bang for your buck at resale time is to retain the services of a Real Estate professional. If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, or you’re ready to become a new homeowner, contact me today and let me help you get the most for your efforts!

 

Heather Morris

Skogman Realty

341 8th Avenue

Marion IA  52302

 

319-350-7653 (SOLD)

http://www.heathermorrisrealtor.com

Beating the Heat in Marion and Cedar Rapids

by Heather Morris

There’s nothing quite like summer here in Marion and Cedar Rapids – warm days and long, twilight evenings. Unfortunately, summer can also mean high heat and humidity, and an uncomfortable indoor environment. Here are some ideas to help you keep your cool this season.

Ceiling fans are one of the most economical beat-the-heat upgrades you can make. They’re relatively inexpensive to buy, and there’s an almost unlimited range of sizes and styles to fit your room and decor. For the cost of running a 100-watt bulb, the wind-chill effect they create will help you keep your cool. If you use air conditioning, running a ceiling fan in conjunction with it can save you 40-60 percent.

Speaking of air conditioning, make sure your unit is situated on either the north or east side of your home to keep it out of the direct sun as much as possible. If you can’t move the unit, consider planting trees or shrubs that will give it shade during the sunny months. Getting it out of the sun can save you 10 percent in electricity usage. Don’t forget to clean and change the filters, too. That can save you another 15 percent.

Your home’s windows let in almost 40 percent of the unwanted heat that accumulates during the day. Installing plantation shutters that let you control the light while letting in fresh air are a good option. A more costly one is to install insulated shutters, which can reduce heat exchange by up to 80 percent. A simple option is to use sun control film, much like what you see on some car windows. They reduce heat and glare, but bear in mind that they also reduce the amount of light that gets in. The most basic option of all may be your indoor window treatments. Honeycomb or cellular shades act as insulators, and some even have reflective coatings to block out the light.

Summer is also a great time to find the home of your dreams. The warm weather makes moving simpler, and the current market conditions make this the perfect time to both buy and sell. Call me today, and let me show you just how great this summer can be.

 

Heather Morris
Skogman Realty
341 8th Avenue
Marion, IA 52302

(319) 350-7653 (SOLD)

http://www.heathermorrisrealtor.com

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Heather Morris
Skogman Realty
341 8th Avenue
Marion IA 52302
(319)350-7653

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