Shop these spots and support local farmers this Spring

It’s that time of year again — farmer’s markets are opening up around Lincoln, featuring local produce, fresh flowers and baked goods. Here’s a breakdown of three farmer’s markets in the area, their unique features and how and when to shop for the best seasonal produce.

Haymarket Farmers’ Market

Located in the historic Haymarket District, this farmers market is one of the biggest and most well-known in the area. Every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon starting May 1st through October 9th, the Haymarket Farmer’s Market features more than 100 vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods and flowers along the district’s streets and sidewalks. The market also offers live entertainment featuring local artists. When you’re done at the market, you can check out everything else the Haymarket District has to offer from local restaurants and breweries to boutiques, bookstores and art galleries.

Fallbrook Farmers’ Market

This family-friendly market is open on Thursday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. starting June 17th through August 19th. The Fallbrook farmer’s market has something for all ages. A bounce house for kids, hot food vendors as well as local produce and craft booths. Find this market in northwest Lincoln off Highway 34 and 1st Street. If you’re not feeling comfortable to shop the market in person, Fallbrook also accepts online orders for curb-side pick-up.

Sunday Farmers’ Market at College View

If you didn’t pick up enough fresh produce on Saturday, hit up this farmer’s market on Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. late April through October. The College View farmer’s market offers a wide selection of unique vendors; from grass-fed beef and farm fresh eggs to locally grown vegetables and flowers. This market also features a “master gardeners” booth every week staffed with volunteers who can answer all your gardening questions.

Why Shop Local?

Farmer’s markets offer some of the best seasonal fruits and vegetables you can get. When you shop at a farmer’s market, you know the food hasn’t been shipped from from another state or country. Meaning, it can be fresher and tastier than the produce often found in grocery stores. Plus, when you shop at your local farmer’s market, you are supporting farmers in your area and helping to boost the local economy. Farmer’s markets can also help you feel more connected to your food and its sources. You can chat with the farmers, ask questions about how the food is grown and even get cooking tips and recipes.

Support Nebraska farmers by shopping local this spring and summer.

Winter Home Upgrades

Cold weather may not make the most ideal conditions for a large home renovation, but there are ways to take advantage of all the time indoors with simple updates that can increase your home’s value. Here are a few home projects perfect for the winter months.

Replace kitchen countertops

New countertops can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Plus, once you have the materials, this task doesn’t require too many trips outside the house, so it’s a great upgrade to consider during the colder months.

Add new light fixtures

Replacing light fixtures is a simply way to add updated, modern touches to a room without needing to spend a great deal of money or time.

Paint a room

Paint dries faster in the dry winter air, making this task a bit easier to do when it’s cold outside. Fresh paint is also one of the best ways to quickly increase your home’s value. If you’re thinking of selling in the near future, neutral walls offer a fresh, clean look for potential buyers.

Install a new faucet

Small changes can have a big impact, especially in a small space like a bathroom. If you want to spruce up your bathroom, but aren’t ready to commit to a total renovation, try replacing the faucet for a new look.

Update safety features

This isn’t exactly the most glamorous house project, but the new year is the perfect time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and test your carbon monoxide detectors. Make this a winter habit and mark you calendar for another check in the summer.

Refurbish a door

With some new hardware and a fresh coat of paint, sprucing up a door is another great way to transform a space. Upgrade your door knobs or repaint your front door for an eye-catching change.

Family FUN Sledding Day !

Winter is here. One fun winter activity for families is sledding. Did you know that even though Lincoln does not have a single mountain, it was once named a top 10 location for sledding by USA today!

Right here in our own capitol city is a top-rated sledding spot! Pioneers Park (3201 South Coddington Ave.) has ramps at the top of the hill that help sledders build up speed for the perfect adrenaline filled sled ride.

Another local favorite spot is Holmes Lake (70th and Normal Blvd) which has plenty of room for the perfect social distancing sled ride. Tanker Hill (5139 W Loring St) is a hidden gem in West Lincoln that boasts a fun hill, but also a great view of the city.

Just a short drive from Lincoln is Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (I-80 exit #426 near Ashland) featuring three runs that you can spend the day or night sledding on. The runs are open from 8am to 10pm and are lit after dark for a little night sledding under the winter sky.

Let’s wish for the perfect snow, bundle up the kids and pack up the sleds for some inexpensive winter memories. If you are not an adrenaline junkie, bring a chair and fill up the insulated bottle with a tasty hot beverage and enjoy watching the sledders fly down the hills of the beautiful great plains.

Fall Real Estate Trends

and what they mean for you

Like many businesses that rely on face-to-face interactions, the Lincoln real estate market was hit hard this spring and summer as Covid-19 took hold in the U.S. While restrictions have made it difficult for prospective buyers to see homes in person, many buyers are still showing interest. Here’s what these trends mean for you as we look forward to the fall and winter.

What current market trends mean for sellers:

Despite the many challenges brought on by the pandemic, now is a great time to sell your home. Historically low interest rates are pushing more prospective buyers into the market, while inventory remains low. In fact, the number of homes for sale in Lincoln has decreased by about 20% compared to last year. This makes for a competitive market as prices continue to slowly rise and homes sell fast.

For sellers, these conditions could be quite profitable, but it’s also crucial to price your home right — something a real estate agent can help you with. You’ll also want to put in the work to make your home stand out from similar ones in the area. Bump up your curb appeal by trimming hedges, planting flowers or adding some fresh paint to your front door.

What current market trends mean for buyers:

Interest rates are historically low, hovering around 3.5%, compared to 6% in 2008. This is great news for buyers but could mean a lot more competition than in the past. You may need to be prepared to offer more than the asking price to compete with other buyers.

The good news is with some preparation and a little bit of patience, you can find the right home for you and lock in a mortgage that has you paying less interest over time. Start by researching different neighborhoods and comparing lenders before going to look at listings so you have an understanding of the home’s value and your financial standing.

This year has brought many challenges to the real estate market and the overall economy. But despite all this, the Lincoln real estate market has remained steady, making now a great time to buy or sell a home.


Fall Family Fun — Ways to Enjoy the Season While Social Distancing

Fall traditions will look a little different this year as we continue to adjust to a different way of life with Covid-19. But with a little extra planning, this year’s season can still be just as memorable and meaningful. Here are five ways to enjoy fall family fun near Lincoln while still reducing your risk of Covid-19 and protecting the community.

Take a nature walk

Health experts agree that when it comes to possibly contracting Covid-19, spending time outdoors is safer than staying inside. Take advantage of the beautiful fall scenery in Nebraska and get your family outside. Grab a jacket and go for a hike at Wilderness Park or round up the kids for a nature scavenger hunt. See who can gather the most pinecones or find the reddest leaf. You can even bring some of your finds home to use as fresh fall decor.

Pick apples

Apple picking is another great outdoor fall activity, and local orchards are taking precautions to keep people safe. Check out Martin’s Hillside Orchard located in Ceresco and make sure to bring your mask for adults and children five years and older. Take your apples home and bake a fresh apple pie or cut them into pieces to dip in caramel.

Have an outdoor pumpkin carving contest

If you have older kids, this can be a fun way to encourage their creativity. Let them carve their own pumpkins (with some assistance if necessary!) and decide which one is the spookiest or funniest. You can even include your neighbors in the contest. Take turns viewing the pumpkins on each porch and ranking them in different categories.

Go for a drive to look at leaves

Nebraska is beautiful in the fall and what better way to take in the fall foliage than a scenic drive? The Lincoln Highway Scenic and the Historic Byway offer incredible views of fall trees, and with 400 miles stretching across the state, you could make your drive as long or as short as you’d like. Another option is Heritage Highway or Highway 136 — one of the most popular scenic routes in Nebraska, beginning in Edison and ending in Brownville. For peak fall foliage viewing, plan your drive for late October or early November.

Leave treats on neighbors’ doorsteps

Trick-or-treating won’t be the same this year, but you can still take part in a version of this beloved holiday tradition by leaving treats on your neighbors’ porches. Bake a batch of pumpkin muffins and distribute them or encourage your kids to leave candy at your neighbors’ doors instead of the other way around. If everyone participates, you’ll have treats on your doorstep too!

Ideas for Turning a Room Into an At-Home Office

The COVID-19 pandemic turned many professionals into remote workers. Use these tips to create a functional home office. 

The COVID-19 pandemic turned a lot of professionals into remote workers, and it looks like many of us are going to stay that way for a while. Some companies are discovering that a remote workforce is more productive and cost effective, and lots of employees are discovering that working from home isn’t so bad. 

If your work from home situation is starting to look like it might be more permanent than it initially seemed, then it’s time to stop working at the kitchen table. You need a home office. Ideally, you have a spare room you can dedicate to your work, but if not, an attic, basement or even a large closet can be converted into a perfectly suitable home office. Here are some tips to turn whatever room you have available into a home office.

Use as Much, or as Little, Space as You Have

A spare bedroom is the best location for a home office — it’s out of the way, has a door you can close, should have several outlets and probably has windows for natural light. It might even have a ceiling fan and a closet for extra storage. If you’re using your spare bedroom as a guest bedroom, you don’t have to sacrifice that — your spare room can be a home office most of the time and a guest bedroom as needed. If the room is small, install a Murphy bed and use a floating console desk, rather than a clunky piece of furniture.

An attic or basement can also work, particularly if you need a larger space for more than one person to work from home. But you don’t need a whole spare bedroom or a spacious attic to create a private, dedicated home office space. Many large closets can accommodate slim-profile desks or floating desks, with floating shelves above for storage. When you’re done with work for the day, simply shut the door. 

Don’t Sacrifice Ergonomics

One of the most common tips for working from home is that you shouldn’t ignore ergonomics. When choosing a space for a home office, make sure you have room for a properly sized desk (at least 29 inches tall), and a comfortable, adjustable-height office chair, preferably one with casters, adjustable armrests and an adjustable seat pan tilt. If you splurge on one item in your home office, it should be the chair — you’re going to be spending a lot of time in it, after all. A chair without the proper support could cause pain and repetitive stress injuries.

Of course, sitting all the time isn’t good for you, either. A standing desk is a good option, and they’re available at a range of price points. A desk that easily converts from sitting to standing offers the best of both worlds.

Consider Who Will Be Using the Space — And How

Are you the only person who will be working from home, or do you have a spouse who also needs a home office? You might choose a desk large enough to accommodate two people, although you’ll need a room with double the space — like an attic or finished basement, or even a garage

Consider how much time you’ll be spending in your home office, too. Do you work long hours? If so, you’ll want a larger desk and a more comfortable chair, then.

Shed Some Light on the Situation

Indirect light is important in any office setting. Natural light is best, if you have a space that offers it, but you should use curtains or blinds to diffuse it and arrange your desk so that natural light sources don’t cause a glare on your screen. Install an overhead light fixture or add lamps that aren’t directly in your line of sight or right behind you to provide any additional light you might need.

Adjust Your Internet Speed

If you’re going to be working from home, you need to make sure that your internet is fast and reliable. Obviously, there will most likely be an additional cost to increase your internet speed. If that’s the case, it’s worth checking with your employer to see if they will cover the difference or the entirety of the charge. And while you might think your current bandwidth can do the job, remember that if you have multiple people working from home and children doing schoolwork, your normal internet speed probably won’t hold up.  

Install More Outlets

No matter what space you choose for your new home office, you’re probably going to need more electrical outlets. You might also need a hardwired Ethernet connection and other data cabling for your equipment. Take the time now to install the outlets and data cabling infrastructure your new home office needs, so your work hours can pass smoothly and with minimal interruptions.

Working from home definitely has its perks. For one thing, you can’t beat the commute! With a home warranty plan from American Home Shield®, you can protect the systems that make it possible for you to work from home. Try adding electronics coverage to your warranty to protect an unlimited number of eligible electronics, including your laptop, printer, scanner and other devices you might need in your home office.

Dreaming of a Road Trip? National Parks Within One Day’s Drive

As anyone who lives in Nebraska surely knows, there are many benefits to calling this state home. One of which: Thanks to its central location, you can road trip to nearly anywhere in the country within one or two days of home—including some of this nation’s greatest gems, the national parks.

If you want to pack up and roll out this year, here are a few national park destinations to consider.

Rocky Mountain National Park

8 hours from Lincoln: Just beyond Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is a majestic welcome to the Rocky Mountains. Featuring everything from an extreme 14,000-ft. mountain that should only be hiked with serious preparation to family-friendly trails or fishing spots, RMNP is iconic for a reason.

Badlands National Park

7 hours from Lincoln: Located in South Dakota, Badlands National Park is known for its dramatic rock formations, beautiful views and roaming wildlife. From there, it is just over one hour to Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Yellowstone National Park

13 hours from Lincoln: The very first national park, Yellowstone is a good drive from Lincoln—but well worth every mile it takes to get there. From geysers to waterfalls and opportunities to spot majestic wildlife, you could spend more than one week here and still barely scratch the surface of all it has to offer.

Hot Springs National Park

10 hours from Lincoln: Down in Arkansas, Hot Springs National Park has been federally protected land since 1832. Surrounded by shops and other attractions, Hot Springs National Park itself allows for soaking in two designated bathhouses or hiking by 47 thermal springs on 30 miles of trails.

Gateway Arch National Park

7 hours from Lincoln: Located in St. Louis, the famous “Arch” is a tribute to the westward expansion of the United States. Today, visitors can explore the new museum, learn about the Dred Scott trial in the “Old Courthouse” and view the city from the top of the Arch.

Arches National Park

13 hours from Lincoln: Arches National Park in Utah is home to a very different kind of arch—or, rather, 2,000 windblown, sandstone arches. With plentiful sightseeing opportunities both within Arches or nearby Moab, it is also a great launching pad to visiting any of Utah’s four other national parks.

Home Maintenance Projects New Homeowners Might Not Know About

Content Provided By: American Home Shield

Being a new homeowner is exciting. It can also be stressful with new tasks to take care of. Here is a list of maintenance projects to keep up with.


Performing regular home maintenance is a huge part of homeownership. It might not be fun — at least, it might not always be fun — but it’s necessary if you want to protect your investment and keep your home in good shape.

The problem for new homeowners is that there are just so many maintenance tasks to keep track of. Even the most detailed home maintenance checklist is bound to leave some off, and with advances in technology and individual differences between homes, your well-meaning older relatives may not even be aware of every single maintenance chore homeowners need to do these days. 

Besides, some home maintenance chores are easier to remember than others. Everyone knows that you need to clean your gutters a couple of times a year, but when was the last time you cleaned your window weep holes, repaired your weather sealing or lubed up your garage door springs? Here are the house maintenance chores that new homeowners not only overlook, but don’t even know about. 

Clean Window Weep Holes

Weep holes are a row of tiny, tiny holes on the outside bottom of your window frame. They’re there to, well, weep. What does that mean? While new windows with tight seals should keep water out entirely, weep holes are there to allow any water that does get inside the window frame to drain properly. But these holes are tiny, and debris can easily build up in them, so it’s important to clean them every six months or so. You can use a pin or paper clip to pick the debris out. To make sure they’re clear, spray water onto your window and check to make sure it leaks out. If it doesn’t, it means one of two things: the weep holes are still clogged, or they’re currently redundant due to a watertight seal around your windows.

Flush the Water Heater

Are you hearing any mysterious banging sounds from your water heater? If so, it’s time to flush it — and fast.

The water in your water heater tank contains minerals that can settle out of the water and build up in the bottom of the tank. If not flushed regularly, these deposits can cause the tank to deteriorate much faster than it otherwise would have. Failing to flush your water heater can shorten its life drastically, which is bad news since replacing a water heater can be hundreds of dollars or more. Flush your water heater once a year and replace the anode rod every five years.

Check and Repair Weather Sealing

A little peeling caulk around a window frame isn’t that big of a deal, is it? On the contrary, poor weather sealing around windows and doors creates drafts, which can lead to increased energy costs, and bad caulk around windows could let water seep into your walls and damage the structure of your home. If you don’t keep an eye on your weather sealing, you could end up with extensive structural damage to the walls and floors of your home.

Check for damage to caulk or rubber seals around your windows twice a year. Repair damaged caulk or rubber sealing, and if you see damage, check for water damage to the wood of your window frames and repair that, too, if you find any.

Clean Your Chimney

If you use a fireplace for heat or ambiance, you need to get your chimney cleaned yearly to remove creosote that could cause fires. Even if you don’t have a working fireplace, you should still get the chimney cleaned regularly. Birds or other animals could get inside of it, build nests, access your house, or die in there and stink up the place. If you’re not planning to use your fireplace, you should have the chimney capped.

Vacuum Your Refrigerator Condenser Coils

Your refrigerator uses condenser coils to remove heat from the inside of the unit, but if they’re covered with dust, pet hair and other debris, they can’t do their job as efficiently. That’s why you should pull your fridge out from the wall and vacuum the condenser coils or wipe them off with a clean dust cloth every few months. Doing so could extend the life of one of your most expensive and necessary appliances — because if the condenser coils go out, the cost of a repair is going to be so high that it’ll make more sense to just buy a new fridge. 

When you’re a new homeowner, it’s hard to keep track of all the house maintenance chores you need to perform throughout the year. A home maintenance checklist is a great tool to help you keep your home in shape. Stay tuned to the blog to get advice on home repairs, maintenance, and improvements.

How to Get Your Home Ready for Some ‘Screen Time’ While Selling

Virtual showings are not a new phenomenon: Before this spring, real estate agents used this method to show off houses for out-of-town clients, to increase interest in an online posting and more. However, whereas virtual showings were once a nice-to-have option, they are now basically essential for homebuyers and sellers in the age of COVID-19.

In one week alone at the end of March, real estate brokerage firm Redfin reported a nearly 500% increase in the demand for agent-led home showings. Meanwhile, Zillow reported that homes with 3D tours available were saved by 50% more users and sold an average of 10% faster than homes without 3D tours.

With more houses getting the “screen-time treatment” for the foreseeable future, here’s how to make your listing stand out online.

Take staging even more seriously:

With more buyers depending on pictures, videos and 3D tours to make their decisions—or at least help determine which houses are top contenders—clutter can make or break the experience. Not only do buyers like to picture themselves in the home, but packing up pictures and knick knacks can help the space feel more spacious.

Do a video tour test run:

Beyond just looking at how well rooms will photograph, consider enlisting a friend to give you feedback as you navigate from room to room. Make sure there is nothing underfoot to trip over, the rooms are well-lit and there is a natural route to follow from room to room.

Think about virtual staging:

Research shows that staged homes sell faster, but that can be pricey if the home is currently vacant and furniture-free. With more people looking online at listings, it’s worth considering a virtual staging service, which can effectively place digital furnishings and more around the house to demonstrate how the space can be used.

Ask your agent about 3D tours:

With 3D tours, homebuyers can view every corner of a house—which means you can’t hide things away in corners and hope they go unnoticed. However, as the Zillow research shows, this option tends to be advantageous, so it’s worth asking your real estate agent to help you line up.

5 Interesting Ways COVID-19 is Affecting Real Estate — for the Long-Term

Even as we begin to settle into a new normal, the effects of COVID-19 are sure to still be felt throughout life for a while to come. More than how we socialize and where we work, these changes are affecting real estate—in ways that all potential buyers and sellers should be aware of as they think of making moves.

Here are a few predictions from the experts…

There may be an exodus from big cities:

According to a recent survey of homebuyers and sellers by Redfin, more than 50% of residents in four of the country’s most expensive cities would plan to move elsewhere if they are able to work remotely. With other evidence suggesting permanent remote situations are likely for many jobs, this could mean more people seeking lower-cost residences in states like Nebraska.

Homebuying may rebound—plus some:

With the majority of the country on stay at home orders during the spring, it was of little surprise that real estate transactions slowed down in comparison to 2019. However, what was surprising was how quickly they seemed to rebound to levels even higher than in April 2019, according to data from Zillow. Looking ahead, there is some conjecture that more people will be itching to move as they spend more time in their homes and want residences that really work for their families.

Mortgage lenders will tighten requirements:

Throughout the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, mortgage rates continued to hold at historically low rates. However, anyone looking to buy now should be prepared to answer some more questions and provide more documentation in order to qualify than in years past. According to HomeLight, lenders are “tightening eligibility requirements” to protect would-be buyers from getting in over their heads as the economy remains uncertain.

Don’t expect home prices to significantly drop:

Unlike during the 2008 recession, which was uncharacteristically marked by home values that sharply declined, experts predict that more locales will experience stable or slightly improving values in the next year.

Buyers’ wish lists will change:

Just as people may flock from expensive, big cities to wide open spaces, they are also valuing aspects of homes that they may not have given much consideration in the past—such as ample outdoor space or multiple family rooms for people to spread out.

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