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The Benefits of a Master-Planned Community




Real Estate Advisor April 2022.

The Benefits of a Master-Planned Community

Master-planned communities - communities that have been planned to include housing and the necessary amenities to support a community - have become increasingly popular throughout North America. No longer just for those 55+, master-planned communities have come to offer a number of benefits for buyers of all ages, especially for those looking for community, convenience, and a sound investment.

New Construction Apartment Building.


Master-planned communities are not a new concept; they've been around for decades. Many 55+ communities were the original master-planned communities, designed to provide amenities and activities for retirees or snowbirds. Arizona, Florida, and Nevada are well-known for their planned communities, with many popular and sought-after subdivisions and neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, the concept caught on across North America and more and more states and provinces are seeing a rise in these communities.

In recent years, the communities have been strategically designed to provide all the necessary amenities for everyday living: diverse housing, retail (grocery stores and restaurants), gyms and community clubhouses with pools, trails for hiking and biking as well as green spaces and parks. Newer communities even include schools to attract families. Convenience is a huge part of a master-planned community and one of the biggest draws to buyers.

Runners on a path with walkers and other people around the path.


For many buyers, finding a community that will support them is a top priority, and a huge draw of a master-planned community is the sense of community it offers. From a variety of events hosted for residents to walking groups, farmers markets and other recreation opportunities, master-planned communities afford residents the ability to reach out and interact with their fellow neighbors on a regular basis. Master-planned communities are great at creating and fostering an atmosphere of inclusion, providing multiple ways for neighbors to connect and become friends.

A park-playground in a neighborhood community.


Not all buyers are alike, but there are many that look for a home in a well-kept and maintained community. In master-planned communities, the community as a whole relies on a homeowner association (HOA) to enforce association rules and bylaws. Master-planned communities are known for their maintenance - many employ outdoor maintenance companies for year-round upkeep of public green spaces and parks. But yards and green spaces are not the only things an HOA governs - they also ensure the community stays safe and the exterior of the homes is consistent throughout all the different neighborhoods.

Some people may not see an HOA as a benefit, but for those that appreciate and value a community that is maintained and runs well, the association is a great asset to the neighborhood and the owners within it.

A man and woman shaking the hand of their real estate agent.


Most home buyers and real estate investors hope their property will increase in value each year, and in a strong real estate market that's generally the case. Yet, as we've seen, no country is immune to dips in its real estate markets. Homes in master-planned communities have actually been known to keep their value or see less of a decrease in value in a poor market. Being a part of a large community can actually add stability to resale values of the properties even during an economic downturn. For many, they may be investing in the community by buying a home there, but they're also investing in their future.

Master-planned communities are becoming more and more popular, and it's not a mystery as to why. With a number of benefits to buyers and owners, a master-planned community can be a great place to live, especially if you want to get as much as possible out of your neighborhood and community. If you have questions about master-planned communities or about the local real estate market, reach out:! You can also find all active homes for sale and even more information about the local real estate market on my website: Don't hesitate to contact me!

Real Estate Buying and Selling Mistakes




Real Estate Advisor April 2022.

Mistakes Buyers and Sellers Regret Making

Mistakes happen, even in real estate. Although it may be one of the biggest investments a person can make, both buyers and sellers can and do make mistakes. Take some time to learn from the mistakes of others so you can avoid them in your own real estate journey.

For Buyers

Picking the Wrong Location

For many buyers out there, buying a home or property can come with a lot of forgiveness. When a buyer is in love, they have the uncanny ability to forgive a property's perceived faults. Noise? Forgiven. Bad location? Forgiven. Not enough amenities? Forgiven. One of the most important and key rules to buying a home is ensuring the location is right. For some buyers, who may be up against a crazy market or have economic reasons for looking in a specific area, the luxury of finding the perfect home in the perfect location is not feasible. For others, especially those that are not in a rush to find a new home, they can take time to map out their prime location and wait for that perfect property to appear on the market. Don't fall victim to the mistake of not buying in the area you want to live in - it could end up costing you in the long run.

Buying Sight Unseen

The pandemic created a need for buyers to rely on virtual tours and listing photos to really get the feeling for a property. And while open houses and in-person viewings have now become the norm again, there are many buyers that are still opting to buy sight unseen, especially in crazy real estate markets. Some buyers have had no issues with only relying on photos and tours; others haven't been so lucky. The last thing you want is to end up with buyers remorse, living in a home you don't actually want.

Another issue that's become popular in areas with crazy markets is forgoing an inspection. As a buyer, you cannot depend on a seller to know all the issues with his/her property. Some cash buyers can afford to forego an inspection; others cannot. Mistakes happen, but you can 100% avoid buyers remorse by ensuring you actually visit the home you want to buy and make a point of having a proper inspection done. Even if it doesn't change the terms of your contract, you'll at least have an idea of what you're getting yourself into with your new home.

Living in an HOA

Communities with HOAs can vary greatly in terms of the reach the HOA has over community members. While living in a community with an HOA can be great for people that want structure within their neighborhood, for others it can be a nightmare. If you're the type of person that likes to control the color of your home's exterior, park your car on the street, or even likes to keep your garbage cans on the side of your house, you could end up making a big mistake by buying a home in an HOA community. If you have your eye on a specific neighborhood or community and you know it has an HOA, review all rules and regulations before you buy.

For Sellers

Not Putting Enough Effort Into the Sale

Regardless of whether you live in a hot market or not, buyers love seeing a home at its best. A home that's taken care of will undoubtedly have more interest and possibly more offers than one that isn't. For sellers, putting effort into the sale can be as simple as ensuring your home is tidy and clutter free. For some buyers, seeing a home at its worst could impact whether they lowball their offer. Buyers like to get excited, and a mistake to avoid is failing to give buyers reasons to be excited to see your home.

Not Planning for Taxes

For many markets across North America, property values have steadily increased over the past few years, and owners who have been in their homes for decades are seeing huge profits when they sell. While homes and other types of property are not generally subject to normal sales tax, if you see a large return on your sale you may be subject to other taxes like capital-gains taxes. Exemptions and reductions are available but rely on certain factors being met, so it's not a guarantee you'll be able to avoid tax on your sale. Don't make the mistake of assuming you won't have to pay taxes - it's best to get as much information as you can from a local expert as to whether you'll be subject to taxes before you sell so you can prepare accordingly.

Not Being Upfront About Issues

No one wants to admit their home has or had issues, but for sellers, disclosing issues you know about is required by law. If you hide issues or work that has been done, or feign ignorance of the issue, it could come back to bite you in the future. Most residential sales in the US require some form of disclosure document (the law is different in Canada and province-specific). Specifically in the US, if you do not disclose certain items in the sale, and the new owners can prove that you knew about them, they have the right to litigation. When it comes time to sell, be as forthright as possible and work with your agent to disclose all necessary items to prevent any possible negative outcomes.

Buying and selling real estate can be a big task, especially for new buyers. But real estate is not a new thing - whether a newbie or seasoned veteran, learn from the mistakes of others to prevent any heartbreak, buyers remorse, or loss of funds. If you're thinking of buying or selling, don't hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns, You can also see what's available on the local real estate market by visiting my website: Spring is here, and the real estate market is ready to go!

Spring In A Flash

Hello friends and welcome HOME - Hutch@Home Spring series

Whether you need quick curb appeal tips or just craving spring in a flash, I have a few tips and tricks to get you started. Iowa weather is unpredictable, so I start my spring bulbs indoors. I love Canna Lilies! They are big, showy plants, but they like it hot, hot, hot. To get a head start, I put several bulbs in well-draining soil and place them on warming mats in the basement. In addition, this year I tried starting our Calla Lilies in water. I will keep you posted on the progress. Bulbs in vases are a great way to bring the beauty of nature indoors. These look great on the dining room table for open houses and spring get-together events.


Photo by Cristina Glebova on Unsplash

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Photo by Levis Carroll on Unsplash

Another trick is if you want to plant some greenery to fill in and give a sense of curb appeal, try some greens. Lettuce, spinach, and other edible greens make lovely container gardens, and they like Iowa’s spring temperatures. The bonus is you get a yummy salad just in time to plant your summer annuals.


Photo by Cristina Glebova on Unsplash

Last, but not least, get that yard green! You know the saying; the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? Well, don’t be down with brown. You can apply fertilizer anytime and ramp up what Mother Nature has already started. The best time to seed is in the fall, but early spring showers are a good time to do some overseeding and patching too.

Image by Photo by Max Ostwalt on Unsplash

The Hutchinson Real Estate Team a.k.a. Kris and Joni would love to help you get your home sale-ready and sold this spring! Call 515-210-3748 for a free market analysis. We cannot wait to hear from you!

Hutch@Home by Hutch4Home

Home Features That Attract Buyers

Real Estate Advisor March 2022.

Demand for real estate across North America is high, and buyers have not stopped trying to find their perfect home. Some properties stand out more than others, and those properties have the home features buyers want. If your home has one or more of these sought-after features, you can guarantee it will be at the top of many property lists!

Well organized kitchen with lots of open shelf space.


If there's one thing a home can never have too much of, it's ample storage, and buyers go crazy for homes that have plenty of space for their belongings. Whether it's additional cabinets in the kitchen, a pantry, garage storage, or clever design updates that include space for anything and everything, a home with tons of storage will be highly sought-after in any real estate market.

A washer and dryer hidden behind closet doors in a home.

Laundry Room

A dedicated space for laundry is always a great feature of any home, and buyers love it when they find a property that provides this luxury. If your home has a laundry room, great! If you don't have the space for a dedicated laundry room, you can create a space or make a current laundry space more appealing by adding storage (cabinets or shelving), a drying rack, and a way to hide it from guests.

Newer windows in a home for sale.

Updated Windows

Old windows can be a huge energy leak for a home, and buyers know it. Homes with newer windows or energy efficient windows will always attract more buyers than homes without. New windows can also eat into a buyer's renovation budget if they know they'll have to replace them shortly after purchase. If your windows are older, and you have the means to upgrade, it can have multiple benefits for you as an owner and buyers will absolutely love them when you sell.

A modern kitchen with bright, modern lighting and pendant lamps.

Adequate Lighting

Lighting can make or break a home, and homes that don't have adequate lighting come off as dark and uninviting. The type of lighting can also be a big draw to buyers - stark, fluorescent lighting commonly found in older homes is inefficient, an energy waste, and can even cause health issues. Incandescent bulbs are still available but are not energy efficient. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they have mercury in them which means they need to be recycled as hazardous waste. Buyers like homes that have modern lighting systems that utilize LED bulbs. LED bulbs can last for thousands of hours and are extremely energy efficient. They may be a little more costly up-front, but they will last for years, and a home with great lighting will always shine above the others.

Covered outdoor patio surrounded by snow and ice on the ground.

Outdoor Area

Buyers love living space, and homes that have usable living space both inside and outside are highly sought-after throughout North America. A popular outdoor feature for buyers: a patio. They're more affordable to install and easier to maintain than a deck or porch, and they're versatile and can be customized in a variety of ways. Regardless of whether you're in an area with a climate that allows outdoor living all year-round or just seasonally, homes that have outdoor areas that can be utilized as living areas or entertaining areas are a top pick for many buyers.

Demand for real estate is high across all of North America, but not every property is fought over. Homes that have features buyers want can be 'sale pending' within hours. If you're thinking of selling, and you want to ensure buyers will be ecstatic about your home, consider updating or adding one or some of features above. If you'd like to know more, reach out: You can also see what's currently available on the market at my website, Don't hesitate to contact me - I'm happy to help!



Hutch@Home - February 2022 - Navigating Real Estate Contingencies


Hutch @ Home - 11/3/2021


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Hello friends and welcome HOME

I have been pondering what Hutch4HOME edition three would hold. It’s such a pivotal time of year as we transition from summer into fall. Everything changes a bit, from what we wear… shorts and sandals to sweaters and boots to what we eat… grilling meats to savory crock-pot meals. In the last edition, we left off with home improvements, so that sounds like a good start.

In the past several years, as winter has locked Iowa into the tundra, instead of settling into a long winter’s nap, the Hutch’s have taken to home projects. You name it, painting, flooring, plank walls, tin ceilings. We’ve tried our hand at many things. While most projects have gone smoothly, we have learned a few things along the way. The one that keeps coming back around is that neither of us enjoys painting. How about you? Do you enjoy painting? I have considered painting my cabinets for years, but I always seem to find something else to do instead.

So what’s in store for our next project? Another garage door. We are going to cut another hole in our house. Well, not us. We’ll be hiring this one out, but I am excited about the convenience and accessibility this will add to our home. I cannot wait to show you the finished project, definitely something to look forward to next spring. We are also going to do a big clean-out. Our daughter wants to have a garage sale in the spring, so it seems like a great time to get rid of clutter taking up precious space.

The other project, besides starting a real estate business, has been our little HOME away from HOME. We have been creating a tiny TIN CABIN and the next big thing on the list is heat. We purchased a used cast iron wood stove that needed some restoration. It is nearly ready for installation so we can get more use out of our sweet little pond side escape. I hope you will keep coming back for updates here at Hutch4Home about the undertakings of our home life and our adventures of our home away from home too.

I will share some before and after photos of some of our past projects on social media, so check us out @hutch4home on Instagram and Facebook. See you soon!

Take care, The Hutchinson’s

A few sneak peeks...

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Hutch @ Home - 9/2/2021


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Hello again and welcome HOME!

I am blown away by how fast time is passing. I have had this feeling many times over the course of my life, but the regularity of this feeling these days throws me for a loop. Yes, I know this really makes me sound old. Can you believe it has been over a month since our last post! The last time we connected, we wished you a happy Fourth of July and now it is nearly Labor Day.

Well, Kris and I are back to empty nesting. Neither of us is particularly excited about this, but we make the most of it. There’s just something to be said about having family under one roof that makes life a little sweeter. In July, we ran a 5k for Brian Cancer Research. This was a first 5k for Emma, so it was fun getting to experience that with her before she headed back to college.

We also unexpectedly said goodbye to our 16-year-old refrigerator and welcomed a new one. I have to say this was more of an adventure than we were expecting. We had little time, and each store presented us with a limited selection in stock; otherwise, they couldn’t tell us when orders would arrive. Thankfully, we found what we were looking for in stock and only had to wait a few days for delivery and installation. In the meantime, we used our garage refrigerator for food rather than just BBQ and BEER. We’ll just keep that secret between us, though.

We also replaced our old sliding glass door last month, which enhanced the view of our backyard! Our home was built in 2005 and we have been replacing things as needed. Homes are a wonderful asset and an enormous responsibility at the same time. We love our home and take great pride in maintaining it. In the last several years, we have replaced our roof, central air/furnace, water heater, several faucets, washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, flooring, gutters/downspouts, garage doors, etc. This sounds like a lot, but it comes with being a homeowner. In addition, what comes with being a homeowner is great pride and satisfaction.

“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.”

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Whether you choose to build or buy pre-owned, there’s no way to get around home expenses, so that financial expectation needs to be a part of your budget when deciding to own a home. That’s why we take great pride @hutch4home in working with you to find the right fit within your budget. The ownership options are endless, from a maintenance-free downtown condo to a full flip makeover home. The choice is yours and we are here to help!

What is your next big home improvement project? Are you like us with a running list of home enhancements? Meet me on Facebook and/or Instagram for that discussion. I cannot wait to hear what ideas and dreams you have for your home!

Happy Labor Day!

Kris and Joni Hutchinson

Hutch @ Home - 6/28/2021

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Hello friends and welcome HOME!

Hutch @ Home is brought to you by Hutch4Home. This monthly newsletter is a glimpse into Hutch’s home base and will cover anything and everything from home care to real estate and maybe even a little BBQ from time to time. We hope to find a balance between informal fun to professional thought-provoking insight… and best yet stay connected.

Who are we...

We are Kris and Joni Hutchinson. Kris is the people facing, talking, walking, fast action guy on the scene. Joni is the quiet, deep thinking, tasking organizing, marketing machine behind the scene. We are the Hutch's of Hutch4Home.


This month’s newsletter covers the fascinating topic of air duct cleaning. Sounds fascinating right… hold on to your seats! It was an eye-opening experience and one that we feel is important enough to share here.


Spring came and went like a lion but spring-cleaning may still be fresh on your mind. For many, spring is a time of clearing out the home for garage sales and citywide clean-up. For others, it is simply opening and cleaning the windows to let the sun and fresh air in. Spring cleaning is a fresh start after a long winter.


We recently took Spring-cleaning to a completely new level, a professional level that is. We had our air ducts cleaned and it was a revelation. Dust bunnies on steroids! This task was clearly overdue and we highly recommend it, especially after the technician came in and said the dryer vent was really bad.

According to the National Fire Protection Association: As warmer weather approaches, NFPA offers 6 key tips to safely tackle spring cleaning “Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe for your dryer is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. This includes making sure the outdoor vent flap is not covered by snow.” – Susan McKelvey Here are some more tips on dryer safety by the NFPA (PDF)  

After some research and gathering quotes, we scheduled the cleaning. We had to wait a few weeks to get in, but it was worth it. The quote is based on your home's square footage and the number of vents. I highly recommend having the dryer vent cleaned too. This is an added charge, but well worth the peace of mind, considering the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them.

My personal experience recommendations are to have all vents in your home assessable. Be sure the furnace is also easily accessible and have a couple of new furnace filters available. The process will take a couple of hours and you will want to allow time for cleaning afterward. The debris is loosened by forced air/steam and then sucked out to a truck. In the process, there will be a layer of dust and dirt around your vents and on your furniture. The technician advised me to schedule another cleaning in approximately 4 years, dust and vacuum to my heart’s content, and change the furnace filter in about 2 weeks.

There is a lot of information out on the internet, so it can be hard to know what to believe or not to believe. From my personal experience, for us, it was long overdue. I found construction dust and wood particles around my vents from the many home projects we have done over the years. We also have pets in the home. It was not cheap, but worth every dime to have the peace of mind that the air is running smoothly throughout our home. To me, that is spring cleaning on a completely new level!

Until next time take care and have a wonderful 4th of July!

Kris and Joni Hutchinson


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