Archive for July, 2010

Home For Sale with Private Lake (in the basement)

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Timm Suess

Iowa has been hit hard by heavy rains this year, so most homes have had their ability to cope with dousing downpours and saturated soil thoroughly tested. Water in the basement is a common concern of home buyers as well as the most common source of real estate lawsuits when previous issues were not properly disclosed. It is key for sellers and owners to remedy any ongoing water issues to protect their home and it’s value. Fortunately, it can often be quite simple and inexpensive to prevent future water issues. 

The most important thing is to make sure water has a clear path to drain away from your home rather than into it, not only because it prevents flooding but also because water flowing at the home can cause major foundation damage. This can be prevented by cleaning out gutters and making sure downspouts extend out at least four feet. Building up the dirt around your foundation helps rain water to flow away from the foundation as well. Experts recommend a slope of about 1 inch incline per foot, for at least 6 feet.  And, make sure basement drains are clear of roots, mud and debris by having them cleaned out whenever they don’t drain freely. 

Additionally, you want to seal anyplace water may gain a point of entry into the basement. Check for any cracks in the foundation or basement walls, as well as areas around chimneys, fireplaces or driveways that touch the edge of the house. Make sure window wells have drains or install a cover (covers are inexpensive and can be found at home improvement stores).  Drainage tile can also be installed just below the surface of the ground to help water flow quickly away from the house. These plastic tubes are inexpensive, readily available, and can be installed with just a shovel for anyone willing to spend a little time digging. For homes where these steps do not correct water problems, a sump pump may be the only way to fully deal with water issues.

There are also ways to minimize potential damage should some water get in from time to time, such as placing storage boxes on shelves or pallets, placing furniture and appliances on risers (wood or plastic), and having water heaters and furnaces installed on a raised concrete pad. Running a dehumidifier can help dry things out quickly and prevent mold growth from starting, but should not run permanently because they can actually draw more moisture inside. If you are finishing off a lower level, installing a raised subfloor will allow small amounts of water to run into a floor drain without causing damage to furniture or carpet.

Water issues can be frustrating, but correcting them is possible as well as important. Besides protecting your home’s foundation from erosion and preventing damp conditions that can lead to mold growth, it will also make a home easier to sell in the future, since few buyers will be impressed with a home with it’s own private basement lake.

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

Ames is right on the money…

Monday, July 12th, 2010

CNN Money just revealed its annual “Best Places to Live”  list, and Ames ranked as the #9 best small city to live in the nation! The ranking was based on the low unemployment rate of 4.3%, the great school systems, abundance of entertainment and restaurants, and the prestige of Iowa State University.

The only other 2 Iowa cities that made the list were Iowa City, ranked 68, and West Des Moines, ranked 75.

To see the full story, check out

Closing date extended for tax credit

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Big news: If you entered into contract on a home before April 30 of this year and qualified for the homebuyer tax credits, take a sigh of relief because you now have until September 30 to close on your home.

Because lenders were overwhelmed with the amount of homes to process, many homeowners would not have been able to close by the closing cutoff date of June 30, and therefore would not recieve the tax credit. Because of this problem, Congress and now the Senate passed a bill to extend the cutoff date 3 months. The President is expected to sign the bill within the next couple of days, at which point the extension will be official. An estimated 180,000 to 200,000 persons will be affected by the extension, and is expected to cost $140 million dollars.

For more information, please visit this link:

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern