Listing 101: Readying your Home

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read·y (verb) – to prepare (someone or something) for an activity or purpose

With the spring season upon us, home sellers are diligently working on readying their homes for the market. This can be an arduous task, but it is crucial to achieving a quick sale and a top dollar amount for the property.

So, what does it mean to ready a home for sale?

  1. DE-PERSONALIZE – There’s no better time to get a head start on the moving process! Pack away all personal items to help the buyer visualize themselves living in their new home.
  2. DE-CLUTTER – Less is more! Pack away small items, tidy shelves, clear counters, and organize closets. A buyer is buying the home, not all the belongings.
  3. CURB APPEAL – First impressions set the tone! Give the front door, porch, and windows a good cleaning and freshen up any landscaping.
  4. FIX-IT UP – Tackle the to-do list! If there are any repairs needing addressed, get them done. Even the small repairs, like paint touch-ups, caulking, leaky faucets, etc., are important to remedy up front.
  5. CLEAN, CLEAN AND CLEAN AGAIN – A clean, fresh-smelling home is a happy, well-maintained home! This is the simplest thing a seller can do, but can also make the biggest impact.
  6. PRISTINE PRESENTATION – Fluff the pillows and let the light shine in! Pull the curtains, make the bed, and fold the towels to truly show off the home.

It sounds like a lot of work, because it is. However, each and every property is different. For our home sellers, we offer advice tailored to their needs and desires. Ultimately, we strive to make what can be a stressful situation as stress-free as possible, while also achieving the goals that our sellers have. It’s a collaborative effort, from start to finish!

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, we would love the opportunity to meet with you!











Welcome to 4058 Grindstone Drive!

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4058 Grindstone Drive

Welcome to 4058 Grindstone Dr in Iowa City, a stunning Hotka Construction home.  This isn’t your typical new construction; it’s filled with custom details that make it stand out from the rest.

With over 2,000 square feet on the main level, it’s the definition of a sprawling ranch. Upon entering the front door, you can’t help but notice the custom features.  A gorgeous stone fireplace with a Douglas Fir timber mantle and white-painted shiplap anchors the great room. The beautiful 4-inch white oak floors that were stained in place create an elegant glow to the space. The spacious & timeless kitchen that boasts white cabinetry, a dark-stained accent island, white Quartz counters, and a beveled-edge subway tile backsplash is perfect for any chef or baker with its large island and extra-wide gas range/oven. The cedar-lined screened porch and attached deck create the perfect transition from inside to outside. All of this greets you in this grand great room.

Off the kitchen, you will find custom-built lockers with a laundry room and large half bathroom. From there, you will escape to the master suite retreat, with a spa-like bathroom boasting classic, white marble tile floors and shower, a free-standing tub, and double vanity. Off the great room, there are two bedrooms that have a practically-designed Jack & Jill-style bathroom between them, perfect for the kids.

In the walkout lower level, there is a light and bright family room and two additional bedrooms, each with walk-in closets, and a third full bathroom. There is storage galore in the unfinished area, including a convenient garden room that opens to the backyard. You will also notice two water heaters and a zoned heating/cooling system while back there.

It doesn’t end there. The exterior of the home is the perfect take on a modern-day farmhouse with its board and batten Hardie board siding, partial stone front, and the breathtaking timber frame entry.  This beauty of a home sits on a nice, level lot and backs to a strip of green space, giving the illusion of an even larger yard.

It is easy to make yourself at home at 4058 Grindstone Drive. Hotka Construction’s innovative design and attention to detail makes this home feel as if it were tailored just for YOU.







Market Update: 2017 Data in Review

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Data (noun) – facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis

What a year it was for the local real estate market! The housing market in this area is notoriously strong, but 2017 was an exceptional year. When comparing 2016 data with 2017,  it’s easy to see just how good this last year really was.

 Let’s take a look at the data:

  • The average residential sales price in 2017 was about $228,000, compared to about $215,000 in 2016. That’s a roughly 6% increase from 2016, when the average annual appreciation is typically around 3%.
  • The average days on market last year was 62 days versus 70 days in 2016.
  • The total number of properties sold was 3,450 in 2017 compared to 3,411 in 2016.
  • The residential sales price to list price ratio remained steady at 98%.

This data includes the 248 towns represented in our MLS – all communities surrounding and a part of the greater Iowa City and Cedar Rapids areas.

It’s hard to predict what 2018 will have in store for us, but we’re confident it will be another strong year. We’re excited for all the buyers and sellers we will have the privilege of representing this year!

Here’s to 2018!



Home for the Holidays

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hol·i·day (noun) – a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done

We love the holiday season – it is truly the most wonderful time of year! That is why we couldn’t resist inviting you into our homes and sharing our love for all things that create Christmas cheer!

Home for the holidays is the best place to be, celebrating with the company of loved ones. We celebrate all month long by cozying up our homes with Christmas décor, burning holiday-scented candles (one of our favorites is locally made by Neat & Navy Blue), baking cookies, and warming up next to the fireplace. We always think of our clients this time of year as well, wondering how they are making their homes festive. After all, one point of discussion that happens quite often in our home searches with clients is the placement of the Christmas tree… which we agree is quite important!

For all of you reading this, we hope this season is filled with love and happiness. We are beyond blessed for all our clients, colleagues, and supporters – a sincere thank you for a wonderful 2017!

Our passion is truly all things real estate, including our own homes, so please enjoy a peek into our holiday spirit! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!








Happy Halloween! The inside on Spooks in your home.

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Spook (noun) – ghost, specter, or apparition

How many spooks does your new home have? We’re not talking about actual ghosts here. We’re talking about structural, mechanical, electrical, health-related, or pest spooks. How do you discover these? Who ya gonna call? THE GHOSTBUSTERS (a.k.a., licensed inspectors)!

The three most common inspections are whole-house, wood-destroying pest, and radon. The cost of all three ranges from $500-$600 and is the responsibility of the buyer. It is money well-spent, so you know exactly the ghosts that are haunting your future home, from big to small.

If the home isn’t brand new, you can’t expect it to be, and that is why the big ghouls are what we’re after. What are these ghouls we’re talking about? They are major deficiencies involving heating/cooling, electrical, plumbing, structural, safety, and health-related issues within the home, and remediation for these can be asked for in a remedy request to the seller. If the buyer and seller are unable to reach an agreement on repairs for these deficiencies, this is where your inspection contingency comes into play and the contract can be cancelled.

The Ghostbusters play an important role in the homebuying process. After all, who wants to live in a home full of spooks?! We are thankful for the work that they do!

DISCLAIMER: Licensed inspectors are not actually paranormalists, this is in spirit of Halloween. If you are wondering about actual haunted properties… Iowa real estate law says that a homeowner does not have to disclose if they have experienced any paranormal activity in the home. It is not considered to be a material adverse fact. You’ll only know if Casper is your roommate once you get settled in…

Happy Halloween, all!




Coralville: City Series

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Coralville – located in Johnson County and is a suburb of Iowa City

Coralville is a family-friendly community located just west of Iowa City. It’s easy to get these two cities confused because they are next door neighbors and compose a majority of the greater metropolitan area.

In the last two decades, Coralville has grown and changed drastically, both residentially and commercially. Much of the residential growth occurred in the northern part of the city, with the addition of many beautiful subdivisions that have become quite desirable for homebuyers. The change of the commercial landscape came with the opening of Coral Ridge Mall in 1998 – it was no longer just the Coralville Strip for retail stores and restaurants. More recently, the development of Iowa River Landing provides great entertainment (shopping, dining, and a future arena and athletic training center) for locals and tourists.

From this growth and development, it has become a vibrant and unique town. There is always something to do – enjoying the outdoors on one of the many paved trails (our favorite is just off Camp Cardinal Blvd), attending an event at the Center for the Performing Arts, shopping, or grabbing a coffee or bite to eat at a local coffee shop or restaurant.

Don’t confuse Coralville for Iowa City it deserves the recognition of being an everchanging and gracious community. It’s easy to feel at home in this ever evolving city.






Introducing our City Series: Iowa City

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Iowa City located in the heart of Johnson County and serves as the county seat


Iowa City is a vibrant and diverse community. It is evident in the downtown scene, where you will find the infamous Ped Mall, iconic Old Capitol, and everything in between – local boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and yoga studios. Whether you’re a sports fan, a nature lover, or a fine arts enthusiast, you will feel right at home.

Divided by the river, you have the Eastside and Westside of Iowa City. Both sides of town have great schools, wonderful neighborhoods, and picturesque parks. Even though Iowa City makes up a small metropolitan area, it has a small-town feel, with every resident feeling like they somehow know the other.

In Iowa City, you can’t escape the black and gold. It is the home of the University of Iowa (go Hawks)! With a student population of over 33,000 (according to enrollment in 2016), there are people coming and going frequently in this everchanging community. The University and its thousands of students and employees, including the renowned University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, is a major player in the city’s economy. With a portion of the population being so transient, it helps make the housing market in this area as strong as it is.

Ultimately, Iowa City isn’t just the Home of the Hawkeyes; it is home to tens of thousands of people, from young to old. With so much to offer, you can see why so many decide to make themselves at home here in Iowa City.


For more information on Iowa City, visit Iowa City under our Featured Areas tab. For a list of this month’s fun events, visit:




Welcome to our Blog!

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Welcome to our blog!

With the ever-changing nature of the real estate market, it’s important to stay informed on what’s happening. From market updates to buying/selling basics to community information, we want to be a resource for you!

In case you don’t know us well, we thought we should give a little introduction. We came together with a common passion – a passion for real estate, for serving our clients, and for building relationships that go beyond the closing table. We have over 17 years of combined experience in real estate and can do it all – residential, commercial, or investment sales. We feel blessed to be able to do what we love, and we hope you can see this passion through our posts.

Outside of real estate, we love to spend time with our families and friends. Rachel and her husband, Todd, have two kids, Grace and Beau. Molly and her husband, Nathan, have a son, Hunter, and three dogs, Ace, Baxter, and Champ. We are lucky to be able to raise our families in such a wonderful community… a community that we also love sharing with all our clients!

We hope you enjoy our blog and that you find the information worthwhile. Let the blogging journey begin!