Advice for moving with children

Happy Family


Though there may have been a time, perhaps in your 20s, when you couldn’t imagine living anywhere besides that musty apartment you rented above that one bar, it’s common once you start planning a family to find yourself searching for a different kind of housing situation in an altogether different [...]

When to enlist the pros

Contractors folder

Contractors folder

While some of us might hope to get rich, have a house full of servants and hire people to do our work for us, it seems these days like more people want to be independently wealthy or retire so they can work on their house and tackle any number of DIY projects themselves.

If you’re building or renovating your home, chances are good you’ve also seen enough DIY television or talked to enough DIYers that you want to get your hands dirty, too.

This is both a smart economic decision and a rewarding option. Some things, however, are best left to professional renovation contractors, such as the following examples:

Anything that requires permits

Many local ordinances require permits for plumbing work, electrical repairs, furnace installations and many structural fixes, such as those related to foundations. This means you have to have a licensed practitioner do the work — and for good reasons! Even if you think you can do some of the wiring or pipe-fixing yourself, it’s best to leave this to the experts, folks who have thousands of hours of experience doing exactly this kind of work.

Working with the pros ensures you comply with local ordinances, and if something goes wrong — say an electrical fire occurs and there’s evidence that a non-licensed individual did the work — your homeowner’s insurance may not cover the damages.

If small mistakes and “good enough” won’t do

Sometime home renovation contractors just do a better job. With that in mind, you should stay away from work that doesn’t have a gentle learning curve, as the results of doing something wrong can range from obnoxious (kitchen cabinets that don’t close because you installed them at a slight angle) to dangerous, such as a gas leak from hooking up a gas stove on your own.


If you go online and watch some videos about roofing, it looks pretty easy. You lay down some tar paper, get a nail gun, order some shingles and get to hang out on the roof with your friends all day. It’s just like being a kid again.

But please, don’t try to re-roof your house.

Experts always make things look easy, and if you’re not a roofing expert, the best-case scenario is that you’ll do a shoddy job and end up paying more for professionals to come in and fix it. In the worst-case scenario, you could get seriously injured.

If you’re going to sell

If you’re fixing up your home in order to sell it, you’ll have much less room for error. Those little mistakes you might make, the kinds that add a little personality to your home, are not going to look good to potential buyers. So, while there are still things you can tackle on your own, it’s best to leave the repairs to the expert home contractors when it comes time to sell.

For more advice on how to fix up your house or help you find a pro, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today. They know the market, (and the pros for those not so easy jobs), and can help you get top dollar for your home.

Tips for using plants to help you sell your home

Living Room with beautiful view

Living Room with beautiful view

Whether it’s big windows to let the sunlight flood in, knocked-down walls to create open-concept kitchens or wraparound decks to help people enjoy their home’s exterior, it seems like some of today’s most popular trends in home design have to do with creating the feeling of being outdoors.

We all want to be outside more, and fortunately, if done right, there are ways to make your indoors feel more like the outdoors.

One of the simplest and least expensive ways is to put plants in your home. Color alone adds a vibrancy that will blend in with virtually any room. Additionally, if you’re selling, a series of properly staged plants can really make your home attractive to prospective buyers and ensure a positive first impression.


Aside from landscaping (which is another topic in itself) two pots of flowers placed outside the main entrance can create a warm welcome. These outdoor plants are important because, as we have mentioned, they help create that crucial first impression. As any experienced realtor will attest, first impressions count for a lot when it comes down to deciding to make an offer.

Creative fixtures

You can do more with plants than set them on the floor or a shelf. With a little creativity, such as hanging plants off hooks from the ceiling or mounting planters on the wall, you can make a big impression on potential buyers.

Bathroom and kitchen

In the real estate world, the most popular rooms seem to be the bathroom and the kitchen. These are the sites of major remodels, often featuring expensive stone and truly artistic designs. While most people might not immediately think to put plants in these two rooms, a subtle touch of green can really work wonders in these rooms.

Fake plants?

While the simple convenience and low price of artificial plants can make them a tempting option, you should avoid them — even real-looking silk plants! They’re more likely to remind people of doctor’s offices or sterile office buildings than a house they want to make their home.

Instead of artificial plants, choose a heartier breed like pothos, English ivy, peace lilies or ficus.

For more tips on how to properly stage your home, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today. They have the experience and expertise to help get you through the process successfully.

The importance of bridges to cedar rapids



(Illustration from Shive-Hattery Architects)

When settlers first arrived in the area that would become Cedar Rapids, the river was both an asset and an obstacle. While the flowing water could power damns and provide power for the mills and factories that grew up along its banks, it was challenging to cross. As companies like Quaker Oats created new jobs, which in turn led to more development and more people moving to the area, it eventually became necessary to build a bridge.

The first permanent bridge was built in 1871, where the Third Avenue Bridge now stands. Shortly thereafter, the original F Avenue NW/B Avenue NE bridge was built. Then, in 1885, the First Avenue Bridge was erected. We could go on, but the point is that bridge construction has been steady and constant throughout the city’s history.

And two decades into the 21st century, Cedar Rapids might get a new, very modern foot bridge.

Riverside revitalization

It’s ironic that one of most destructive events in our history, the 2008 flood, would lead to a massive effort of revitalization and beautification of the city.

Following the flood, one of the largest and most notable projects was the development of the green space along the waterfront. Both practical and aesthetically pleasing, this large park area will absorb water and could prevent future flooding. In the meantime, it serves as a prime recreational area, complete with a city promenade and river amphitheater.

Additionally, part of this riverside makeover may involve a pretty slick-looking bridge for bicyclists, joggers and more.

A bike-friendly bridge

In the past few years, you may have noticed the torn-up remains of an old railway bridge. The twisted iron and cement foundations of the railway bridge are not exactly a pleasant sight. But now all that might change. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that a proposal to build a 600-foot pedestrian and bike bridge is in the works.

Just east of New Bohemia and Czech Village, this bridge will connect trails on either side of the river. On the south-side, it will pass right under our own natural wonder, and site of ongoing renovation, Mount Trashmore.

In Cedar Rapids and thousands of other cites, bridges have been the means to connect and build. This new pedestrian bridge will represent another step to energize our city and get people outside.

To learn more about the many great things going on in Cedar Rapids, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today.