If you have an oil stain on your asphalt driveway, wipe up the excess oil with an absorbent cloth or mop it up, then act quickly using the common household items below to make sure that it doesn’t become a permanent eyesore or a headache to clean up later.  Many times cleaning grease from concrete or asphalt will require diligent cleaning to remove the stain.

Dawn dishwashing soap, cat litter, a can of Coke, baking soda, and WD-40 spray are just some of the common household items that can help break down or absorb the oil before it permanently settles into the asphalt. Before doing any of the following, make sure to mop up excess oil or soak it up with an absorbent towel. Also note that these tips are for asphalt, but they may also work for concrete driveways or on concrete slabs in your garage.

  • Dish soap: Squirt the liquid soap onto the oil stain and add water. Scrub at the stain with a stiff brush and use a garden hose to rinse away the suds.
  • Kitty litter: Cover the oil stain with cheap clay-based cat litter. Stomp on top of the litter granules to help it soak up the oil, then leave it out overnight. Sweep up the litter the next day, then hose off the area.
  • Powdered laundry detergent: Sprinkle detergent on oil stain and add water. Scrub the stain with a stiff brush, then let sit for 30 minutes and hose off.
  • Soda: Pour a can or two of Coca-cola, or a similar brand of cola, onto the stain. Let it sit overnight before cleaning further.
  • Baking soda: Sprinkle a generous amount on the oil stain, then scrub with a stiff brush. Wait at least 30 minutes before rinsing off.
  • WD-40 spray: Spray the stain with a generous amount before rinsing off with water.
  • Oven cleaner: Spray the stain and let it sit for 5–10 minutes. Scrub it with a stiff brush, then use a hose at the highest pressure setting to rinse it away.

Take note that these techniques work best for fresh oil stains. You can still try using these techniques for old oil stains to make them less noticeable, but making the spot go away may take multiple applications or commercial stain removers. Also, you can try a combination of any of the above — just not at the same time! Some chemicals just don’t mix well together.  Happy Cleaning!

Have you always wanted to own your own home?  To have a yard to enjoy, inviting friends and family over to entertain?  That dream can become a reality, and we are going to make this easy for you at Brenton Communities!

You can own a brand new, 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for as little as 5% down!  That is right, for qualifying candidates, you could be in a home as quickly as a couple of weeks.  Call one of our offices today and ask what you will need to do to get the ball rolling .  Don’t pass up the opportunity to finally own a beautiful new home, schedule a time to see floor plans today with one of our managers!

As more businesses and households are impacted by closures and social distancing, we will remain at your service. We are prepared to keep our office lights on, continuing to manage all the communities you live in, and available for you during all types of situations.  Here is a list of efforts Brenton Communities is making to help lessen the effects of this pandemic.

  • Our friendly Staff is working in the office, primarily available via phone or email.  Office drop boxes are checked regularly for letters, paperwork and payments.
  • Face to face visits only in required situations, we will wear masks and ask that you do the same, while maintaining social distancing.
  • Spring home inspections have been postponed until we are safely able to work with you face to face on your home’s needs.
  • Paying site rental can be made easier by signing up for ACH (automatic payments).  Payments are taken from your account, on or after the 5th of each month, upon your approval.

We have put together a listing of resources for anyone being adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Food Bank of Iowa operations are continuing uninterrupted as the need grows 515-564-0330;   https://www.foodbankiowa.org/
  • Iowa Financial Aid and Local Assistance Programs index;  https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/index.html
  • Iowa Workforce Development 866-239-0843;  https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/
  • Iowa Department of Human Services, offering food, childcare, and cash assistance;  https://dhs.iowa.gov/node/3250
  • Iowa Department of Human Rights, offering Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, dial 211 or visit;  https://humanrights.iowa.gov/dcaa/where-apply
  • Polk County General Assistance Programs 515-286-2088;  https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/community-family-youth-services/all-programs/general-assistance/
  • Marion County General Assistance Programs 641-828-2238;  https://www.marioncountyiowa.gov/offices/general_assistance/index.htm
  • Boone County General Assistance Programs 515-433-0593;  https://www.boonecounty.iowa.gov/government/boone-county-community-services/general-assistance

We value all of our residents and are here to help if you need us.  Together we can overcome the current setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic!


Meet Kim Hott, General Manager of Eagle Ridge in Marion!

Q. What do you love most about your job?
A. “I enjoy the residents of the community and that each day is different. What a great place to be!”

Q. What’s exciting at Brenton Communities?
A. “We really are a great option for affordable housing. Our communities are clean, safe, and quiet.”

Q. What advice do you have for your clients?
A. “Please read the guidelines and try to follow them. That makes it a better place for everyone!”

Q. Tell us more about yourself.
A. “I live in Marion with my husband, two kids, and three dogs.”

Thank you, Kim! We’re so glad to have you on our team!

Leaks can be massive headaches, but luckily they’re not very shy and show themselves in advance – if you know how to spot them!

Plumbing issues cannot be overlooked by homeowners – even minor issues that could be brushed off as “easy fixes” can escalate to major problems down the line, and leaks are among the most common and bothersome of the bunch.

A small leak might not seem like much at first, but going unnoticed or unattended for too long can lead to massive headaches and costs in repair and materials. Luckily, there are lots of signs to watch for in order to prevent a small leak from becoming a big problem.

The first and most common way to detect a water leak: out of nowhere, your water bill skyrockets for no apparent reason

If you receive your water bill, and only then find there is something wrong, it means the leak is fairly well hidden. This means the problem could originate from an inaccessible pipe, or from somewhere out of sight.  For example, toilet running or leaking, water heater leaking, or pipes behind walls, etc.

Keep an eye on the water meter! It can also indicate sudden changes that will help you prevent paying extra on water bills.

Patches of greener and taller grass, or pooling water

A subtle but common sign of a leaky pipe are odd patches of greener and taller grass in your yard. This could mean a pipe is leaking under it, resulting in that small patch receiving more water and growing faster than the rest.

A leaky pipe can burst, which could flood your yard and even cause damage to your home’s inner plumbing, so be sure to investigate as soon as you notice it.

Puddles or wet areas under your appliances

Dishwashers and washing machines are usually quite obvious when there’s a leaky pipe nearby, but do check under and inside the sink every once in a while for small puddles or damp spots. A small leak might go unnoticed for a long time, but by then, it will have spent a ton of unnecessary water.

Leaky faucets cause the same issue, but since they usually leak from the faucet, it’s hard to miss when it’s happening – be wary of dripping sounds even when the faucet is supposedly closed.

Water heaters are also prone to leaks. If you have one at home, check it every now and then, since it can be easy to miss.

Musty smell and damp spots

Leaky pipes inside walls are a little harder to notice until some damage is done. Be on the lookout for bulging wallpapers and paint, musty smell in a room where there’s no source of water, or even mold growth – all of these could be signs of leaky plumbing.

Water damage should not be underestimated. It severely damages paint and wallpapers, but in worst case scenarios, it can compromise your home’s walls and flooring, by warping, causing cracks, and mold that can spread throughout the house. Combine that with wooden furniture and carpet absorbing humidity and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.

Take action as soon as possible

In most cases, leaks are not shy about showing themselves, so be sure to take action as soon as you see any signs. By doing so, you’ll be preventing further damage and saving yourself heaps of trouble!

As an added tip, if you’re not confident performing plumbing tasks, opt for calling a professional instead – attempting complex repairs by yourself can lead to further damage. Our office can recommend a plumber in the area if you are unsure of who to contact.


Meet Debbie Smith from Brenton Communities!

Q. What do you love about working at Brenton Communities?

“I love the variety of people I work with. My job is different every day. Helping people find their new house and seeing them turn it into their home is the best!”

Q. Tell us more about yourself!

“I have 2 children; Harley 21 and Carter 16. Love watching live local bands, attending farmers markets and watching my son play football.”

Q. Why should someone choose Brenton Communities when looking for a new home?

“The new style of homes! They are built to last and have some fantastic features that you would never dream of seeing in a manufactured home.”

Thank you, Debbie! We’re so glad to have you on our team!

Straight from MidAmerican Energy… Carbon monoxide, also called CO, is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause dizziness, nausea and even death from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Carbon monoxide is produced when a fuel doesn’t burn completely. Gas appliances and other fuel-burning household devices – such as a wood-burning fireplace, generator or engine – produce invisible carbon monoxide fumes.

What is CO poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when there is a buildup of CO in an enclosed space. A buildup can occur when the source is improperly vented or operated, or has malfunctioned.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include grogginess, confusion, headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, weakness, tightening of the chest. CO exposure can even make you pass out. People often describe the symptoms as flu-like.
CO poisoning can kill you. Prolonged exposure to CO can deprive your body of oxygen. Because you cannot smell, taste or feel CO fumes, it is important to know the signs and have a CO detector.
How to prevent CO poisoning
  • Ask a qualified professional to inspect your home-heating systems annually for proper operation and potential leakage.
  • If you have a wood or gas fireplace, ask a professional to check and clean the chimney, flue or vent regularly.
  • Have fuel-burning appliances installed by a qualified professional to ensure that they are properly vented and operating as intended.
  • Never operate fuel-burning devices such as grills, motorcycles or generators indoors.
Carbon monoxide detectors
A CO detector provides an early warning if CO gas reaches a dangerous level. Your home should have at least one CO detector on every level. Install your CO detector in sleeping areas so you can hear if your detector alerts while you are sleeping.
If your CO detector alerts you to a problem, leave your home immediately and seek fresh air. If you or a family member feel sick, call 911 and seek medical attention. Contact a qualified technician, like a home heating technician or plumber, to inspect the source of the CO buildup and make any necessary repairs.

What type of Ice melt should you use this winter?

We’re all aware, or should be aware, that salt can help with ice on our driveways, sidewalks, and streets, however, did you know de-icers will damage concrete? Also, did you know that some de-icers are more appropriate for your needs than others? Don’t worry! We’re here to give you all the information you need so you can keep your driveways/sidewalks and yourself safe this winter.

The first winter for new concrete, salt should never be used. If it’s necessary, sand or kitty litter can be used to increase traction. After the first year concrete has been laid, if you need to put salt down, some de-icers will create moderate or minimal damage to your concrete. Here is a list of best salts and ice melts to use, depending on your situation.

Magnesium Chloride – Primary de-icing salt

  • Newest de-icing salt; best choice for melting ice
  • Creates moderate to significant damage to asphalt or concrete
  • Effective temperature is -13 degrees Fahrenheit
  • More effective than sodium, safer around pets, and environmentally friendly
  • If over applied, can damage plants, and is lethal to pets suffering kidney disease
  • Perfect for pet owners, gardeners, and those in a rush

Potassium chloride – Primary de-icing salt

  • Can be used for residential properties, especially pet-friendly homes
  • Not a skin irritant; overall good choice
  • Creates minimal to moderate damage to asphalt or concrete
  • Effective temperature is 25 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Safer option for pet owners and environmentally friendly
  • Damages grass and plants when over applied, lethal for pets with kidney disease

Calcium Chloride – Primary de-icing salt

  • Creates minimal to moderate damage to asphalt or concrete
  • Effective temperature is -25 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fast acting and more effective than sodium chloride
  • Can damage grass and plants if over applied

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

  • Creates moderate damage to asphalt or concrete
  • Effective temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Less corrosive than chloride products and is environmentally friendly

Sodium chloride/rock salt – Primary de-icing salt

  • Most common de-icer
  • Creates minimal to moderate damage to asphalt or concrete
  • Effective temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Can be damaging to asphalt, concrete, brick, stone, metal, grass, plants, and wood decks.
  • Not to be used on concrete less than 1 year old and lethal to pets if ingested.

Urea/carbonyl diamide 

  • Creates minimal damage to asphalt and concrete
  • Effective temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but better at 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Safer for pets and environmentally friendly
  • Can be damaging to plants if over applied and not very effective as a de-icer
  • Perfect for pet owners or gardeners

If you have pets and/or young children, read warning labels before you bring home, and always keep these out of the reach of young children or out of your pet’s’ way. Your goal is to de-ice, but if young children or pets get into some of these types of salts, it could put them in severe danger. Before applying anything to melt the ice, get rid of snow first using a shovel or snow blower/snow plow. Always use common sense when you’re in contact with any of these chemicals because they could damage your health or overall well-being as well if you don’t know how to handle them.

If you have any questions about what product to use, feel free to contact our offices, they can assist you in making a decision that is best for your property and family.

Colette Duffy is the Accounting Manager at Brenton Communities!

Q. What do you love most about your job?
A. “Learning! I am new to Brenton Communities. For many years I was the long timer that knew it all. I had gotten too comfortable in my daily routine. New people, new software, new line of business. It’s good to be challenged and really dig into the details of the business and look for ways to improve or contribute to the business.”

Q. What’s exciting at Brenton Communities?
A. “The management team has high standards and really wants each community to look nice and be a quality place to live.”

Q. What advice do you have for your clients?
A. “Love where you live. At the end of each day you go to the place you call home. It’s important that your Home gives you comfort.”

Q. Tell us more about yourself.
A. “I have been married to my husband Mike for 34 years. We have 2 daughters, 1 grandson, 1 dog, and 4 outdoor but needy cats. We like to do anything outside when the weather permits.”

Thank you, Colette! We’re so glad to have you on our team!

Comparing mobile/manufactured homes, site-built homes on real estate, condominiums and apartments, can be confusing!  We’re here to help by putting all the information in one place for easy comparisons.

Mobile/ Manufactured home Real estate Condominium Apartment
Value +

A new factory-built home costs

about $45-60 per square foot.

A new traditional home built on-site costs about $90-$100 per square foot (excluding land)

New condos cost $90-$100 per square foot (excluding land)


Property Taxes +

Annual taxes on a new 2200 square

foot manufactured homes in

Iowa are $440

Annual taxes  in 2017 on $130,000

house in central Iowa   $2751

Annual taxes  in 2017 on $100,000 condo in central Iowa



Included in rent.

Construction-Grade Building Materials +

Most people are surprised to learn that

today’s manufactured homes are built with the same building materials as site-built homes.







Privacy +

You’re not living wall-to-wall in your own manufactured home.



You’ve got at least one shared wall with your neighbor.

You’ve got at least one shared wall with your neighbor.

Storm Safety +

All Brenton Communities have emergency storm shelters or designated safe places.


You probably have a basement – although some do flood.


Does your condo or complex have a safe place to go in a storm?


Does your apartment have a safe place to go in a storm?

Garage +

Most home sites in  are large enough for an optional garage.


Unless it’s an old home, you’ve probably got a place for your car.


Let’s assume condos have garages.

Be ready to scrape your car after a snow storm.

Planned community +

All residents agree to abide by common

guidelines for living.


Unless you’ve got a homeowner’s association, you’re on your own.


Unless you’ve got a homeowner’s association, you’re on your own.


All residents agree to abide by rules of the complex.

Screened neighbors +

All residents in Brenton Communities

undergo a criminal background, sex offender and credit check before moving in.

Do you really know who your neighbor is?

Do you really know who your neighbor is?


Let’s assume experienced apartment managers screen their tenants.

Build Up Equity +

You own your home.


You own your home.


You own your space.

You’ll never get back one penny you pay in rent.

It’s clear to see that a mobile/manufactured home from Brenton Communities wins in every category over other types of housing.

Come and see for yourself why so many people choose the manufactured housing lifestyle – attractive, affordable homes in beautiful, safe and quiet neighborhoods.

Call us today at one of our many locations, to schedule a time to see the home you’ve always wanted, with all the features you thought you couldn’t afford. Financing is available for those who qualify!