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JANUARY 15, 2019 • Volume 15 • Issue 2

RE WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL • ACREAGE • FARM • COMMERCIAL • AREA DEVELOPMENT 515-233-3299 • 317 5th Street, Ames • All REALTOR® ads within are REALTORS® licensed in the State of Iowa

Online at

Page RE2 • REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, January 15, 2020






Interested in installing a peephole in a door? Home Depot has a step-by-step guide to the project.

Try creating leaf-shaped pavers by making sand molds with large leaves and casting the shapes in concrete. Here’s how ThisOldHouse. com did it:


1. Measure. Using a tape measure, find the center of the door and mark the spot you want the peephole. Ensure it’s at a convenient height for you and other members of the household

1. Place the leaves you’re casting facedown and brush the underside with cooking oil using a paintbrush (this will help you remove them from the concrete).

2. Pick the right drill bit. You’ll need a spade bit to drill the hole. Select one that will bore a hole the correct size for your viewer.

2. Spread a 1-inch-thick bed of slightly damp sand out on a flat surface (a little larger than the leaf’s perimeter).

3. Drill the hole. Begin slowly drilling from the exterior of the door, stopping when the tip of the bit just sticks through the interior surface. Measure the edge of the door and mark the correct depth to drill by wrapping tape around the bit. Drill at a 90-degree angle until you reach the tape. Use the pilot hole you just made to drill back out from the interior side.

3. Lay a leaf facedown on the sand and, using a trowel, cover with an even layer of concrete at least 2 inches thick, extending the mixture to its edges and pressing the leaf into the sand.

4. Install the viewer. The viewer consists of a lens and barrel. Insert the lens hole from the exterior side. Then insert the barrel into the hole from the interior. Hand-thread the viewer together. Seal the viewer to keep moisture out with a bead of silicone sealant around the lens. Tighten the viewer. The viewer should be flush with the door and snug.

6. Use a wire brush to smooth out any rough spots in the concrete.

4. Let the concrete cure for at least 24 hours. 5. Flip each casting over and peel off the leaf, starting at the thick stem end.

The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates three times in 2019, which has caused a mortgage-refinancing boom among millennials. According to Business Insider, there are four cases where refinancing can make sense. 1. If refinancing will reduce your interest rate by at least half a percentage point. 2. If you want to change the terms of your loan. 3. If you want to get rid of your mortgage insurance requirement and lower your monthly payment. 4. If you want to access your home’s equity. A cash-out refinance lets you leverage the equity in your home to borrow more money than you owe and use the cash for major expenses. More Content Now

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for a


mini-emergency By Laura Firszt

More Content Now


on’t all those internet home hacks make awfully addictive reading? Like munching salted peanuts, it’s hard to stop at just one. Problem is, often the hacks don’t really satisfy. Meaning, most of those breathless tips won’t solve actual household problems or even do much good at all. (No, I’m not smearing my mirror with cucumber to prevent streaks. Been there, tried that, it doesn’t work.) What homeowners truly need is a collection of home hacks to cope with those minor household emergencies that crop up so often, especially in winter — not disasters, but pressing problems that demand help RIGHT NOW. So here you go. You’re welcome.

1. Icy walkway True story: A recent night’s freezethaw (or, in this case, thaw-freeze) left me with an icy, treacherously slippery front sidewalk. A quick trip to the nearest home center or local hardware store would yield a bag of commercial ice melt, but first I had to get to the end of my walk without falling flat on my face.

After browsing through a bunch of ice melt home hacks, I opted to try sprinkling the surface with baking soda, the most promising-looking suggestion. How did it work out? Well, the baking soda got rid of all that ice pretty fast, and was an eco-friendly solution, too — although it did leave behind a powdery residue.

squirt a few drops of Herbal Essence or Pantene into the toilet, swish it around with the brush (they do have one of those, don’t they?), flush again, and you’re free to leave.

2. Bad smells Any time of the year, bad smells are ... well ... bad news. That’s even more true in wintertime, when you can’t simply open a window and let balmy breezes air out your home. Fortunately, there are readily available solutions. BAD KITCHEN SMELLS: To absorb unpleasant kitchen odors, from frying fish to a burnt pot, leave out an open dish containing a cut lemon or ½ cup of white vinegar an hour or so; for stronger action, simmer the vinegar 10 minutes in a non-reactive stainless steel or enamel pot, together with a gallon of water. In either case, pour the (cool) vinegar down the kitchen drain when you’re done with it for more deodorizing. BAD BATHROOM SMELLS: Burning a match or sprinkling essential oil are tried and true solutions to bad bathroom smells. However, they share one shortcoming — both methods are designed for the homeowner. But what about if you’re a guest in someone else’s house? That’s when a noxious odor can skyrocket from a nuisance to a minor disaster, as you fruitlessly search for matches, essential oil, industrial-strength room deodorizer ... anything. Rather than remain locked in the bathroom forever, you can borrow a little of your host’s scented shampoo. Flush,

you twist the faucet), first check whether the pipe has actually burst; if so, you’ll need an emergency plumber. Otherwise, turn the tap to the “On” position, then warm the frozen part of your piping with a blow dryer or heating pad. While it seems as if a space heater would make more sense, it can be a fire hazard if there is anything flammable. And avoid an open flame at all costs or you’ll be faced with much more than a mini-emergency.

5. Power outage 3. Lack of fire starters You suddenly discover that you’re out of fire starters, just before company’s due to arrive. Want to get a nice cozy blaze going in the fireplace in no time? Use newspaper for a no-cost solution; form twists for longer ignition action. Oh, you get all your news online these days? Then start your fire with cotton balls instead; for convenience, stuff a couple into an old toilet paper tube. DANGER: Avoid one of those uberpopular (and badly misguided) internet home hacks: dryer lint as a fire starter. Burning fibers from synthetic fabric will off-gas all kinds of bad stuff, chief among them carbon monoxide gas — AKA the silent killer.

4. Frozen pipes Frozen water pipes are one of winter’s nastier surprises ... and it takes just one below-freezing night to cause them. Fortunately, you have a way to fight back. If you suspect your pipes have frozen (hard-to-miss clue: just a trickle of liquid — or nothing at all — comes out when

When the power is out only in your house, inspect your breaker or fuse box; if it keeps tripping, find a reliable electrician. Otherwise check the electrical lines to your home; if they appear damaged, do NOT touch them. Call your utility company immediately. When the outage is wider spread, try to find out how long it is expected to last. For a short-term power failure, keep food in your fridge and freezer cold longer by covering with a blanket. Increase the effectiveness of an emergency lamp or even a candle by placing it next to a mirror, which will reflect the light (this hack courtesy of accuweather. com). Do you have electrical heat? Keep warm for the duration by dressing in multiple layers and heading to the basement, where warm ground temperatures will help to insulate your home. If the power is predicted to be out for more than 24 hours, or if your household includes small children or frail individuals, you’re facing a more serious emergency. Head for a public shelter. Laura Firszt writes for

REAL ESTATE WEEKLY • Wednesday, January 15, 2020 • Page RE5


10 facts to help you find the best mortgage loan lender may also have the best preapproval letter. Here are 10 facts to help you find the right loan: 1. Interest rates change daily: Lenders calculate interest rates on indexes such as the prime lending rate or LIBOR. These rates move up and down daily.

2. Annual percentage rate (APR) calculations are not accurate: The formula for


RICHARD MONTGOMERY eader question: How can I find the best mortgage loan?

Monty’s answer: I answered this question several years ago, but it bears repeating. Comparing the cost of mortgage loans is a challenge for most mortgage shoppers. Do this before you look for your home. The most helpful

calculations assumes the entire term of the amortization. If amortization is 30 years and you relocate in three years, the actual APR is more significant.

at all times: Source of funds are continu-

ally circulating, and pricing changes often. Lenders commit to a funding source to invest a specific volume at a particular rate. Once they place those funds, prices change.

6. There are different types of mortgage lenders: Commercial banks, thrift insti-

tutions, credit unions, mortgage brokers, online lenders and more. All must follow the HUD rules, but they all operate differently.

3. The type of loans must be the same when making comparisons: Compare two

7. Fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, balloon mortgages, and government-assisted VA and FHA loans are typical. Specialty

4. The APR calculation includes private mortgage insurance (PMI): When there

8. The interest rate and monthly payments are not the whole story. Various

fixed-rate mortgages, not a fixed-rate and an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

is less than a 20% down payment on the home.

5. No lender has the best rate and terms

products for rural loans, certain local neighborhoods and more exist.

9. Other costs incurred may be added to a mortgage. If the debt-to-income ratio

is good, many lenders will add closing costs to the mortgage loan.

10. Credit score issues impact quoted interest rates. Many factors may mean a higher

interest rate.

Richard Montgomery is the author of “House Money — An Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When You Buy or Sell a Home.” He is a real estate industry veteran who advocates industry reform and offers readers unbiased real estate advice. Find him at

closing costs can impact your outof-pocket fees or monthly payment significantly.

Realtors, do you want to reach a wider group of potential buyers? Advertise in the RE Weekly. In print and online.

Call Ali Eernisse 515-663-6956

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Don’t see your home in the

RE WEEKLY Then contact a Realtor® today, because you are missing out on over 39,000+ potential buyers seeing your property for sale. STORY TY COUN

PMENT ERCIAL • AREA DEVELO GE • FARM • COMM RESIDENTIAL • ACREA Street, Ames 99 • 317 5th ® licensed in the State of Iowa 515-233-32 are REALTORS ® within All REALTOR ads


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Profile for GateHouse Media Iowa

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