Homes Are Selling For Top Dollar And In Record Time! This Is Making Now The Perfect Time To Sell!

Homes Are Selling For Top Dollar And In Record Time!  This Is Making Now The Perfect Time To Sell!

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When you are selling your home, you would really like it to sell for top dollar and quickly, right?  Well, if that is the case, there has never been a better time to sell your home than right now!

According to recent data from the National Association of REALTORS®, the national median existing home price in September 2020 was selling for $311,800, up 14.8%.  The median price in the Midwest was $243,100, also a 14.8% increase from September 2019.

And not only are homes selling at higher prices, they’re also selling quickly. Nationwide an astounding 71% of homes sold in September were on the market for LESS than a month. On average, these homes in September were on the market for ONLY 21 days.  This is record breaking and down from the national average of 32 days back in September 2019.

According to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, the low interest rates and high demand is the one of the key factors behind driving the current buying frenzy. “Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season,” Yun said in a recent press release outlining NAR’s findings. “I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace.”

Are you excited about possibly selling your home when homes are selling higher and quicker than just one year ago?  All these numbers are telling are you that if you have been thinking about selling your home, don’t wait any longer and now is the time to do it!  Go ahead and make the move.  Just don’t forget to call us here at NextHome At The Lakes for all your buying and selling needs!  712-336-9999

Get Your Home Ready for Colder Weather

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The recent snow has made me wonder… Is my home ready for winter?  Granted the temps will get warmer in the upcoming week, but we all know that it WILL get cold again.  So, if you want your home to make it through the winter, you’ll need to take some proper measures to protect it.

Here are some ways to winterproof your home now so your home is ready for the cold temperatures, snow, and bone chilling wind.

Store patio furniture

We normally don’t barbecues and dine outside during the winter months, so it’s important that you protect your grill and patio furniture — that way, they’ll be ready to go when the weather starts to warm up.

Take your grill and patio furniture and put them into storage. If you don’t have a place to store your them, you should at the very least cover them up to protect it from the elements. This is really important if you have aluminum patio furniture.  These can rust once the snow hits.

Empty and store hoses

You will want to store your garden hoses before the temperature gets too cold. If you leave your hoses outside laying on the ground, the water in them can freeze, which can damange them causing holes and leaks. Make sure you drain each of your garden hoses and store them inside until spring.  If you leave them attached to your home you may be looking a costly fix, because they can cause your water pipes to burst.

Protect your home from the cold winter air

Winter is air is COLD, and if that cold air finds a way into your home, you are likely to find yourself shivering no matter how high you turn that thermostat up. It is very important to seal off your home to keep cold air from getting in. Look for any gaps in the foundation or walls and seal them with caulk or foam.  You can also use caulk to seal any gaps around your windows. If your home is always cold in the winter, you may also want to check the insulation. Both your attic and basement should be insulated. If your insulation is improperly installed or old, it can cause the temperature in your home to drop in the colder months. Adding or redoing insulation can be expensive, so if you are not sure whether your insulation is good, consult an professional and get an estimate.

Get a good thermostat

One of the top ways to protect your home in the winter is by keeping it at the proper temperature.  However, “proper temperature” is relative; obviously, you will want your house warmer when you are home, but it’s fine to turn down the heat while you’re out. But if you turn OFF your heat, you will run the risk of the temperature dropping too low.

A programmable thermostat will let you to control the temperature in your home at all times. You should program your thermostat to automatically lower the temperature of your home when you leave, and raise the temperature before you return home. Many of the new thermostats even connect to your smartphone, letting you control the temperature in your home.

Replace your furnace filter

Old, dirty filters will make your furnace less efficient, making your energy bills go up and making your home more harder to heat. Replace your furnace filter this fall to make sure your furnace is in ready to go when winter hits.

It may warm up a little in the upcoming weeks, but we all know colder temperatures will be back!

Sherwin-Williams 2021 Color of the Year

Sherwin-Williams Announces Its 2021 Color of the Year


Since we are all already over 2020 I thought it would be nice to share what Sherwin-Williams announced as its 2021 color of the year.  It’s Urbane Bronze! Sherwin-Williams says Urbane Bronze captures simple sophistication.

Urbane Bronze

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Urbane Bronze

Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing, Sue Wadden says “Urbane bronze is a comforting color, drawing from nature for a feeling of relaxation and serenity.”  The gray undertones also give it a modern twist.  You can pair this color with natural materials complementing the shade, including woven textiles, stone accents, wood finishes, and mixed metals. They also suggest pairing it with other warm neutrals like their Modern Gray or Messenger Bag color that has a hint of green.

You can use this color as exterior or interior.  Use it as a primary or accent color in living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, or dens.  Wadden also says that it can be used to accentuate window trim, columns, and accent walls in residential or commercial spaces.

We could all use a feeling of relaxation and serenity with everything going on in the world right now. Why wait for 2021?  Go and grab this color and create it yourself!

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Rural Property Prices Are On The Rise

Rural Property Prices Are On The Rise

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Urban areas have long been the most popular realty markets within the country. But the pandemic and stay-at-home orders left many of us looking for extra space, both indoors and out—and now that some restrictions are being lifted in some areas, many buyers are leaving the cities and heading to more rural destinations to search out the space they’re craving to have. Twenty-one percent of buyers recently surveyed said they wanted a place to designate for their work from home and that same percentage of people surveyed also are seeking more outdoor space.

And as interest in this “hot” housing market is rising, so are the prices of these rural properties.

According to the data outlined in a very recent article on REALTOR Magazine, rural homes experienced an 11.3 percent increase in sales price year over year during the four weeks ending August 2—which is a much higher growth than the suburbs (9.2 percent) and still a higher growth than the urban areas (6.7 percent).

So, what does this mean for you? If you live in a rural area and are considering selling your home, now’s a good time to take advantage of increased demand.  We keep saying this is a seller’s market and that is even more true with these rural properties. Don’t wait, call a NextHome agent today for a no-obligation consultation. 712-336-9999

Tips to Help Ease the Stress Of A Home Renovation

Tips To Help Ease The Stress Of A Home Renovation


A home renovation can be a giant job—and for several homeowners, it can also be very stressful.

But it doesn’t need to be! A recent article from Point2Homes outlined key tips you’ll be able to use to own a stress-free home renovation experience, including:

  • Get your things out of the way. A renovation can be really messy——and the last thing you want is for any of your furniture or other belongings to become ruined or damaged. If you can, move any furniture or other personal belongings that are typically stored within the renovation zone and get them out of the way (either by storing them in another room or by putting them in a storage unit) before you take on any major renovations.
  • Carve out space for yourself. Large-scale renovations can feel like they’re taking over your entire house. Designate a spot in your home where you’ll be able to get away from the renovation noise and mess and relax, maybe a spare bedroom (or even a closet!).
  • Order takeout. Renovations take up lots of your time, space, and energy—and trying to cook meals, eat, and clean up the mess, on top of managing a renovation project can feel overwhelming. If you can, order takeout to get rid of the stress of cooking, shopping, and preparing meals while you are in the process of a renovation. (Plus, not only will ordering takeout help make your renovation less stressful, but it’s also an excellent way to support your local restaurants that might be struggling due to COVID.)

So what is the bottom line? There’s enough stress in our world—so, if you’re planning on renovating your home, make sure you are taking the steps to make it as stress-free as you probably can.

Dont let the thought of selling your home stress you out!


There are lots of moving pieces when it involves selling your home—and for several sellers, those moving pieces can cause an honest amount of stress.

But what are the foremost stressful parts of selling your home? According to a recent survey from LendingTree, a number of the highest stressors include:

  • Buying and selling a home at the same time 
    • 29% of home sellers surveyed said trying to sell their home while trying to buy a new home was the biggest stressor within the process.
  • Making costly repairs or upgrades
    • Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to come up with some cash on repairs or upgrades before you list.  This is a process that 16% said was the most stressful part of the process.
  • Fearing the home won’t sell
    • Even though a very low home inventory is making this a sellers market. 15% said that they fear their home won’t sell was the most stressful part of the process.
  • Balancing advice from lots of different sources
    • Your friends, family, neighbors, and even co-workers might mean well when they give advice on what you should and shouldn’t do. But 13% said sifting through advice from such a big amount of different sources was the most stressful part of selling their home.

So, what does this mean for you? 

If you’re stressed out about selling your house, you are definitely not alone. In fact, it’s very normal. But, the more you know about the potential stressors that may come during the home selling process, the better prepared you can be to deal with them. This will lead to a less stressful home selling process.  Make sure to contact your NextHome agent so we can help ease your mind. 

Do I Need A Buyers Agent? YES!


Why Should You Hire a Buyer’s Agent?

When you first start looking at houses to buy, it is usually because you saw a house online or you drove by one that was for sale…

So, you reach out to the agent online or on the For Sale sign. Maybe you call to ask a few questions, or see if they can show you the house. Next thing you know, you’re receiving listings by e-mail and looking at homes with that agent.

You probably want to be a little more deliberate about finding yourself an agent. Too many people just randomly start working with the agent listing the home.

That’s really not the best way to “hire” a real estate agent when you are looking to purchase a home, but that is normally what happens.

What I am trying to say is most people don’t really find the right agent for them.  So what is the solution and what should you do?


Make an effort to find an agent to work with before you actually start looking at any home. While it is normal to be excited to look for that perfect home to buy, you are skipping a very important step. You should start by asking friends, family, coworkers, or anybody else you know for referrals or recommendations.

Then, meet with those agents. See how they will work for you.  Do they seem like they know what they are talking about and doing?  Are they asking you questions to determine what your needs are?

Once you find one for you, HIRE them…

Let me repeat that.  Once you find the one for you, hire them!  Commit to that agent and solely with them.

Too many people feel like they need to have lots of different agents helping them find a house.  But ALL agents have access to every home on the market.  They can ALL get you in and show you the home.

But not every agent can represent “your” needs and work for “your” best interest. It’s not all about having an agent who is willing to jump into the car to show you a home the very minute you call them about one.  It is about having an agent who will truly help you and have the insight into you and your needs.

So what is the best thing to do when you find the right agent?  The best thing to do is to sign a Buyer’s Agency Agreement with them.  Show them you are just as committed to them as they are to helping you through this home buying process.


The reason some people complain about their home buying experience is because they did not have a committed relationship with their agent.  Sometimes this can cause trust issues and not so positive experiences.

So, don’t go down that road.  Instead go out and find and “hire” the best agent you can find.  One that you trust and know is working for your best interest.  It can mean all the difference in the end.

Landscaping Your Home


You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and Curb Appeal is fast becoming one of the most important details buyers look for when shopping for homes. Landscaping can bring out the best in your home while allowing you to put your own personal touch on it. Ugh, just the WORD “landscaping” seems so….HOT! All the digging and the hauling and the rocks and the dirt and which trees should I plant? Do I want flowers? Which flowers bloom every year? How long does it even TAKE for flowers to, um, flower? What kind of grass is best? It’s Kentucky Bluegrass, isn’t it? Let’s dive in to the basics and not-so-basics about what you can do with the landscaping around your home.

Testing your soil. This sounds easy, right? Plus, this super-cheap soil tester will measure the moisture, light and pH of your soil! With this knowledge, you can tackle the next hard part: deciding what and where to plant.

What do I want to plant? Deciding between trees or shrubs or bushes or flowers is going to be a matter of personal taste. I would LOVE to walk out of my house and see a literal SEA of pink peonies, but will they even grow in my soil? That’s why the soil testing is so important. It will tell you which plants you can expect to grow and which ones to avoid. Trees will obviously take a while to sprout and even longer to shade, but don’t plant anything that needs full sun in an area that will eventually be shaded by your trees. Try to balance your yard, if not with symmetry then with size. Emphasize a front porch by planting bright flowers under or use tall plants to bring focus to a detailed doorway.

Do I really want to dig in myself? Hey, if you’ve got the money to dish out to have your landscaping done by professionals, by all means let them show you what they’ve got. It can be really exciting to plan on some sweat equity, until you’re three weeks (and possible hundreds of dollars) in and you haven’t even planted a seed yet.

Why should I even do this? Landscaping, on average, can raise the value of your home anywhere from 5% to 12%, depending on the extent of it. It is the mark of a pristine interior as well as a sign of good taste. Plants are really in style these days, and by the looks of it that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Keeping the Bugs at Bay


I have hated bugs since I knew what they were. Mosquito bites are hands down the worst part of summer. And the SPIDERS?? Don’t get me started. But alas, the more we learn about these pests, the more we learn what they don’t like! Here are a few tips for keeping summer’s most common outlaws OUT of your house!

  1. Spiders: The #1 thing to keep spiders away is Peppermint Oil. This can be bought at any local grocery store and here at Simply fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of the peppermint oil and a few drops of dish soap. Spray it around doorways and windows and anywhere else you may have seen spiders before, and make sure to leave doors and windows open for a little while after spraying. Inhaling peppermint oil can sometimes cause dizziness. If you haven’t got any Peppermint Oil on hand, I bet you’ve got white vinegar! Make a mixture of half white vinegar, half water, and spray away. That is, if you can handle the smell of that! Another trick is to plant Eucalyptus plants. Spiders don’t like those, either and who doesn’t want another excuse to get another plant??! Vacuuming up webs is also a favorite pastime of mine as it doesn’t require me to touch anything gross. Finally, the cleaner you keep your home, the less chance you’ll have ANY nasty little creepy crawlers around so use that as incentive for the kids! “You don’t want spiders in your bedroom, do you?”
  2. Snakes: Personally, I have a pet snake, I love snakes I think they’re incredible creatures and they’re smart and beautiful, and I could go on and on but since I’m probably the minority with that opinion, here are a few things you can do to keep them away from your home. Going back to the oils theme, snakes don’t like close or cinnamon oil, and you can get the clove oil here and the cinnamon oil here. Same basic concept as the peppermint oil, mix a few drops in a spray bottle of water and spray in cracks and crevices outside and around the perimeters. Mothballs also have an active ingredient snakes hate, so putting a few of those out can help too! Or you can just call me! I will gladly come and take any snakes you may have off your grounds! (Just Kidding!)
  3. MOSQUITOES: My least favorite bug on the PLANET, really. Ugh, just the absolute worst! But since my hatred for them isn’t going to lead them to extinction (a girl can dream, can’t she?), hopefully these tips will help you avoid bites altogether. Placing a fan outside pointed toward where you’re sitting can actually keep mosquitoes away. I can’t believe I never thought of this. How could their puny little wings withstand a fan? They probably can’t. Citronella candles can also thwart off these buzzers. And again following with the Oils theme, this lemon eucalyptus bug deterrent spray is a natural way to keep mosquitoes out of your garden party. Peppermint oil (see SPIDERS above) can also be used for these little buggers! Another trick is to definitely get rid of ANY standing water!!!!!!!! Plus, standing water is just gross!
  4. Bees: This is a tough one because bees literally pollinate ALL of our crops. If it weren’t for bees, we would have no agriculture. So, for the sake of future generations, I am only listing all-natural repellents, none of which should be harmful to these awesome little bugs. The peppermint oil/water mixture mentioned for spiders above will also work for bees, just spray around perimeters, doors, windows, etc. Or you can also use tea tree oil or cinnamon oil (or all three if you like!). You can also place cinnamon sticks outside where you’ve seen bees and plant mint as that is a natural deterrent, too! I know our first reaction is to kill bees, but please try to minimize this as many species have become endangered and like I mentioned, if we lose bees, we lose a lot more with them.

I truly hope these tips will help you live your best bug-free summer ever!