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Should I Rent or Should I Buy?!

To rent or to buy, that is the question! For the would-be first-time home-buyer there’s no easy answer. Especially in a “hot” housing market, it can seem quite overwhelming to even consider the idea of buying a house. There are dozens of online articles that come to different conclusions about the rent vs. buy decision. But how do you determine what’s right for you?

That’s why Brookside Real Estate started hosting our First Time Home Buyer Happy Hours earlier this spring – so you can have all the information you need to make the decision that is right for you, all presented in a casual low-key environment – aka: Happy Hour!

Our first Home Buyer Happy Hour was a rousing success. And, we created the upcoming Happy Hour based on the most common question we heard from would-be buyers at our first Happy Hour. The question was simple yet complex: “Should I rent, or should I buy?”  The variables that weigh into making this very personal decision are many.

Becoming a homeowner has long been a cornerstone of the American Dream: “Invest in a home, don’t throw money into a rental” is something that most young people hear.  And generally, that advice makes sense – but there are many considerations that play into whether the decision to buy is the right one for you right now.

Here are a few questions to consider: Are you planning to stay in the area for a while? Or will your job or family relocate in the not-to-distant future? What are the general trends of the neighborhood where you are looking to live? Is there a school system nearby that you would want your kids to be enrolled in? Are you generally handy with fixing mechanical things around the house? Do you want to rent to avoid the maintenance that goes along with owning a home? How important is it to invest in a large asset that you will own someday? Do you want to save money on your taxes?

There is much to consider! So if you want to become more educated in the “rent vs. buy” decision, we have just the event for you! We’ve assembled several speakers with years of experience in the financial, mortgage and Real Estate arenas to speak to these issues and answer your questions – all in a low-key fun and relaxed environment. (Did we mention this is a Happy Hour?!)

Even if you are far from being ready to buy your own home you can still stop by to meet other area young professionals that are in similar stages of their lives. Join us for an hour or two (on what looks to be a beautiful summer evening), complete with complimentary food and drinks, right here on our cozy (and well-shaded!) patio in the heart of Brookside!

Details:

Tuesday, June 27, from 5:30-6:45 at 9 W 63rd Street, in Brookside (just across the street from Charlie Hoopers)! RSVP to [email protected] or stop on by ­– everyone is welcome! Want a few more details? Drop us a line at (816) 333-3330 and we’ll fill you in! See you on Tuesday!

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3 More Reasons to Love Brookside

The number of reasons that we love Brookside are too numerous to actually count, but here are 3 more reasons why we love Brookside and why you will too! Put simply: The Shops. Today we highlight 3 neighborhood favorites that you really should stop by to a visit!

  1. The brand new Red Door Grill – The first Red Door started across the state line and was a culinary hit from the start, so we were super excited to welcome Red Door Grill’s second location here to the heart of Brookside! Locally owned and operated, Red Door Grill is committed to community and they show that by the locally sourced ingredients they prepare their delicious meals with and the local providers they partner with. Red Door offers a great environment for most any occasion and considers themselves “an upscale neighborhood joint.” Definitely another reason to love Brookside!
  1. Here in Brookside good food isn’t only available for humans. Brookside Barkery and Bath boasts Kansas City’s largest selection of all-natural pet foods and products for dogs and cats of the family. They are passionate about “better health through better nutrition” and care for each pet’s individual needs. Your pet will love the service from the Barkery’s friendly and knowledgable staff. Want to really pamper your pet? Check out their wonderful Pet Spa! Do what’s best for your best friend, stop by for a visit on your next walk through Brooksde and pick up some tasty treats – your pet is sure to fall in love with Brookside too!
  1. All of Brookside’s shops are pretty darn charming, but one of the mostunique is The (New) Dime Store. A throwback in time, this dime storebrings back the wonder and nostalgia of an old-fashioned variety store that truly has it all! Various iterations of the Dime Store have been an essential and beloved part of the Brookside community since 1941 – and The (New) Dime is no exception – a store where you can still find just about anything you need just when you need it most. Stop in for something you need – and fall in love with something else you just can’t do without! Always worth making a special stop,come take a peek into a charming part of the past and we guarantee you’ll find an essential part of your future trips to the Brookside shops for many years to come! 

The Brookside neighborhood is a little bit of old, a little bit of new, and a whole lot of charm. Stop in and visit the iconic Brookside Shops, have a drink on a patio, chat with neighbors and stroll down the wide, tree-lined sidewalks. And while you’re at it, stop by 9 West 63rd Street – the home of Brookside Real Estate to find out how you can make this special neighborhood your home neighborhood.

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First-Time Home-Buyer Patio Party, a Smashing Success!

Our first-time buyer party on the patio took place on a lovely evening filled with food, wine, conversation, and helpful first-time home-buyer information.

The Happy Hour featured three experts with topics specifically geared towards first-time home-buyers. The first guest up, Mitchell Smith from Buttonwood Financial, opened with insights into managing cash flow and discussed how being a home-owner affects overall financial health. Who wouldn’t want to save thousands in taxes?!

Next our own Nicole Lonergan talked about the importance of having an experienced Real Estate Agent specifically when operating in a fast-selling market with limited inventory like we are experiencing now!

Mortgage expert, Mike O’Neill finished up the official part of the presentation by building on Nicole’s comments about a tight market and explaining how prequalifying for a loan can make the difference between getting the home of your dreams and having to start searching again from scratch. After the official presentations there was time planned to mingle, ask questions, and talk to others in varying stages of the home-buying process.

As one guest commented afterward, “This was the perfect opportunity and environment to ask the questions I was embarrassed to ask otherwise. It gave me a place to start, and pointed me in the right direction.” The party was such a hit that we are going to continue the first-time home-buyer sessions with another one in June!  More details to come-stay tuned!

Take a look at the photos below from the event:

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First-Time Home Buyer Happy Hour on the Patio!

Maybe you’ve heard about the shortage of home inventory, or maybe you’ve heard that the #NumberOneMistake millennials are making right now is to not invest in a home. For many, just the thought of buying a first home can be overwhelming. There are so many unknowns, the process seems highly complicated, there’s so much to consider, not to mention the questions you have may feel silly.  Whatever your concern, we’ve got answers at Brookside Real Estate’s First Time Home Buyer Q&A Happy Hour on the Patio!

At Brookside Real Estate we recognize the questions are many for would-be first-time home buyers. Even if you’re not quite ready to buy a home, but would like to learn what steps you need to take to be ready financially, this Happy Hour’s for you! Our goal is to answer commonly asked questions, clear up any misconceptions, lay out steps along the home-buyer timeline, and take away the mystery from some ominous-sounding home buying terms.

To make the Happy Hour Q&A extra-informative, we’ve invited a couple of friends from the mortgage and financial planning business to offer their expertise too! Mitchell Smith from Buttonwood Financial and Mike O’Neill from Oak Star along with our very own Brookside Real Estate agent Nicole Lonergan will join up to offer their best advice to prepare Home-Lookers to become Home-Buyers!

If you could use a little more information before you decide to look for the homes of your dreams, then this casual and fun Happy Hour’s for you!

  • Where: The lovely outdoor patio of Brookside Real Estate Company at 9 W 63rd Street, right here in Brookside!
  • When: Tuesday, May 9 from 5:30- 6:45! Stop by on your way home from work for a little food and drink and stay for the Q&A time with Real Estate, Mortgage, and Financial Professionals.
  • What to bring: Yourself! (And any other friends who want to learn more about the home-buying process!) We will provide the food, beverages – and helpful advice!
  • Who: You and other would-be future first time home buyers!

See you at 5:30, Tuesday, May 9, at Brookside Real Estate Company’s first time home-buyer happy hour! Need a little more info? Drop us a line at (816) 333-3330 to learn more, or just stop by!

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To Market to Market – Brookside Farmers’ Market!

It finally feels like spring and Mother Nature’s harvest agrees! We don’t know what your plans are Saturday morning but we couldn’t be more excited for the opening of this season’s Brookside Farmers’ Market this Saturday, April 15th at 8:00 AM!

The Brookside Farmers’ Market has been a neighborhood tradition for 14 years now. Recognized as one of Kansas City’s largest organic and non-GMO farmers’ markets, this weekly happening always draws quite the crowd! Each of the many market vendors are from around the local area. (They must be and all use sustainable and/or cruelty-free practices.) You can’t get much closer to the source as the products and produce are sold exclusively by the local growers themselves with no resale – now that’s local!

Located on the southeast corner of 63rd and Wornall, many Brookside neighbors often walk the short distance to the Farmers Market – although the Market continues to draw fellow shoppers from throughout the city!

While the selection varies slightly from week to week you can expect to find:

  • Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Herbs
  • Organic eggs and meats
  • Fresh flowers
  • Fresh bread and baked goods
  • Organic juices

Vendor’s like our fellow 63rd Street friends at Heirloom Bakery and Hearth and Simple Science Juices draw quite a crowd for their organic juices and fresh baked goods. If you haven’t tried one of Heirloom’s homemade pop-tarts you’re missing out! No matter what your personal taste is the Brookside Farmers’ Market has something for everyone.

Every Saturday morning, rain or shine, from 8:00AM to 1:00PM (starting Saturday, April 15 and continuing through late November), come on out, meet up with your friends, get to know your neighbors, and fill your pantry with some of the finest and freshest baked good and produce in the area!

Neighborhood events like the Brookside Farmers’ Market are just one of the many reasons that the Brookside area has become such a desirable place to live. Imagine yourself walking down wide tree-lined sidewalks with the morning sunlight filtering through the spring blossoms on the trees, waving to your dog-walking neighbors and stopping by the Farmers’ Market to pick up your fresh produce for the week!

Like the idea? Give your friends at Brookside Real Estate a call at (816) 333-3330 – or just stop on by and see us at our street-front office at 9 West 63rd Street – to discuss how you can make this great neighborhood your home!

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5 Tips for Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal This Spring

Pick as many of these DIY improvements as you feel you can tackle, and your home will be well on its way to shining before you can say “play ball!” this spring season! Whether you are looking to enhance your home’s curb appeal in preparation to sell, or just because “Spring Fever” has you in the mood to make some eye-catching changes, these 5 easy tips will have you racing with excitement to the nearest home improvement store!

  • Tip #1- One of the most fun and dramatically eye-catching improvements you can make is to change up the look of your front door! The front door of the house is the focal point of the home. A brightly painted door can add that extra touch of fun, and a seasonal wreath adds personality.
  • Tip #2– Your front porch should be an extension of your personal decorating style and the look and feel of the inside of your home. Add a couple of pots of seasonal flowers, or spruce it up with some new house numbers that match the style of your home. Remember house numbers should be large and visible from the street. Consider adding light fixtures to illuminate them in the evenings.
  • Tip #3- Take another look at your lawn. Are there some sparse patches where it looks like the grass may not come in fully this year? Early spring is the ideal time to start grass seed or sod. And of course make sure to get rid of weeds. A well-manicured lawn speaks volumes about the care of your overall property. Adding mulch to your flower beds will also give your yard that well-groomed “finished” look and is relatively inexpensive.
  • Tip #4- Clean your windows and siding. This is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to quickly make a huge difference in the appearance of your house! Make your windows sparkle by cleaning them inside and power washing them from the outside with a window attachment. Refresh your home’s siding with a power washer to remove any winter grime and then take to the ground to show off the true colors of your flagstone or concrete walks, landing and porches. If you don’t have a power washer you can usually rent one from your nearest home improvement store
  • Tip #5- Check the condition of your garage and driveway. Again use the power washer to give your garage and drive way a quick once-over. The results might surprise you – you’ll be glad you did! Eliminate any weeds or grass growing in your driveway or walk, and you will be well on your way to leaving a great first impression of your home for visitors – and you personally will enjoy pulling back up to your home all the more this spring!

First impressions matter, and if you are wise about where you invest, a little can go a long way! Sprucing up your home this spring with a few of these striking improvements doesn’t need to break the bank. Most require a little bit of time but are not especially costly. Take your time upfront and preplan your curb appeal makeover. That way trips to the garden center or home improvements store can be optimized. Break up projects into smaller tasks of 2-3 hours and check them off one by one. Over the course of a couple of weekends you’ll be amazed at the progress you’ve made.

If you are looking to sell and would like some professional assistance, contact the team at Brookside Real Estate! We have over 30 years of experience in Kansas City and are experts in Brookside and the surrounding neighborhoods. Give us a call at: (816) 333-3330, or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd any time to chat. We’d love to see you – we care because we live here too!

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435 Magazine Names Brookside One of the “Best Places to Live”

Following hot on the heels of the national news media and Real Estate publisher Motovo’s accolades of  Brookside as one of the “Top 10 Best Zip Codes in America, ” the March issue of 435 Magazine is not to be outdone naming Brookside, “One of the Best Places to Live Right Now.”

“We couldn’t agree more,” said Brookside Real Estate broker, Jim Kraus, “I’ve been in the Real Estate business here in Brookside for over 20 years now, and the community continues to astonish everyone with its consistently appreciating home values. I’m not surprised anymore. Everyone wants to live in Brookside. What’s not
to love?”

435 Magazine points out, “Not all the great homes are in distant suburbs…In the last few years, these areas have just taken off. Demand is up, but supply is limited.”

More from 435 Magazine:

  • “The Brookside community is the perfect spot for those seeking an older home near some of the best local spots Kansas City
    has to offer. This vibrant community is ten minutes from the Plaza and only a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Kansas City. Everyone wants to live in a small community with slow streets and large lots, and even though some of the homes in Brookside might run a bit pricier, they are the ideal location for those with above-average incomes looking for a neighborhood with character.”
  • “The Kansas City housing market is strong and stable, and in many ways the envy of the housing pundits on both coasts.”
  • The article quotes that the average number of days a home is on the market in Kansas City is about 15 days and expects that number is going to dwindle as Spring Market gets into full swing and the busy summer months hit. Some houses listed in Brookside are even sold within 24 hours.

Spring Market buying and selling can be daunting and feel rushed, but don’t let this discourage you. With over 30 years of professional experience, the agents at Brookside Real Estate have all the tools needed to navigate you through Spring Market madness! If you’re looking for a new place to call home, give us a call at (816) 333-3330, or stop by the Brookside Real Estate office located at 9 W  63rd Street and check out one of Kansas City’s, “Best places to live right now.”

 

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Brookside’s 63rd St. Corridor is on a Roll!

For some time now exciting changes have been percolating along the 63rd Street Corridor in Kansas City (and we don’t just mean coffee at the new Unbakery and Juicery!) While new developments are always noteworthy, this advancement is particularly exceptional. You see, just over a year ago, this section of 63rd Street was more than 85% vacant!

No wonder developer Butch Rigby’s vision to revitalize this area of the community is causing such excitement! For Rigby, a local entrepreneur and developer (known by many for his work in bringing classic film venues renewed life via his company Screenland Theatres), the “Brookside East” 63rd St. Corridor project is more than redevelopment, it’s a means of “connecting” a community.

601 E 63rd Street Before Renovations

The early renovation results have led to some surprising “connections” that were not entirely expected. For example, one of the renovated office buildings – that was only a year ago dark and empty – now has floor to ceiling exterior windows providing clear vistas both inside and out. In fact, so clear that several new office dwellers happily reported that outdoor pedestrians often wave up to them as they pass by on afternoon sidewalk strolls.

The views from the building’s inner offices are nearly as great as those from the exterior offices thanks to deconstructing solid-walled offices and replacing them with clear (sound-insulated) glass. “My goal,” says Rigby, “is for everyone from inside the building to be able to see a tree from their workspace. If they could see a tree, they could not only enjoy natural light, they could see the surrounding neighborhood they were now part of.” Another “connection” made!

Unbakery and Juicery

Brookside has long been a thriving market for home buyers in search of charming one-of-a-kind homes, big trees and walkable shopping district. Home values have continued to appreciate, and neighborhood has become a bit of a coveted place to call home. It has both small-town, family-friendly charm – as well as convenient access to the Plaza, the Crossroads and downtown.
Unfortunately, the office and retail space along 63rd Street past Oak had not been updated much at all in over 30 years. But, thanks to the shared vision of Rigby and several other like-minded local redevelopers, like Scott and Kate Meinke who opened Heirloom Bakery & Hearth just over a year ago, and Colonel Laster with Laster Industries, the goal of extending the walkability and local retail allure of Brookside further along the 63rd Street Corridor is in full gear.

A longtime supporter of local small businesses, Rigby is committed to bringing unique and interesting new retail neighbors to the neighborhood. His vision to expand the Brookside neighborhood further down 63rd Street corridor has meant carefully curating new shops and retailers that will continue to represent the unique neighborhood charm of Brookside.
The renovated office space has been an attractive option for many area small businesses – as witnessed by occupancy that nears 100% even as some of those spaces are still being completed. A wide variety of businesses have already moved into to the mixed-use office space in the renovated building (with the new floor to ceiling windows) located at 601 E 63rd Street. From businesses like Element Wellness Spa Studio, to Odimo, a cutting-edge architectural design and consulting company, small business in occupancy along new 63rd St. corridor is thriving.

We here at Brookside Real Estate Company have long said that Brookside is more than a neighborhood, it is a way of life. Brookside is about community. Brookside is vibrant. Brookside is teeming with life and growth. This expansion is bringing wonderful value to the neighborhood. We welcome this advancement – and our new neighbors – with open arms. If you’ve not yet had a chance to do so, stop by and see what all the buzz is about. If you’re already a Brookside resident, take a walk down the sidewalk, wave to the new office tenants, stop in and meet the new retailers and say “hello” to our new neighbors.

And if you’re not already living in Brookside or Waldo or one of the surrounding neighborhoods, stop in and visit us here at our own retail office on 63rd Street. If this community isn’t already your home we, like Butch Rigby, would love to get you connected!


Brookside’s 63rd Street Corridor

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Buying that first Home? 5 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score!

If you are looking to buy a home, you may be more interested in your credit score than ever before.  The difference between a good credit score and a mediocre credit score could be the difference in being approved a home loan or not – and your score certainly might affect your home loan interest rate.

Lenders first analyze your credit scores to determine whether or not to consider you for a loan. If your score is above the minimum threshold that particular lender has set for home loan approval, then they consider various aspects of your credit history, your income, and your debt to monthly expense ratio. This is to be reasonably certain that they will not lose money by choosing to lend. If all looks good they will approve you for a loan at a specific interest rate. Next stop: Find that dream home!

Here are 5 tips to help get you on the road not only to loan approval, but also to a loan at a better rate – potentially saving you thousands over the lifetime of your loan.  You not only want to demonstrate that a loan with you is a good investment, but that it is a great investment. Successfully achieving this saves you time and money!

While improving your credit score sometimes takes financial behavior changes consistently over time, here are 5 quick tips to help make an immediate impact:

Quick Fixes – 5 Things to do Right Away

  1. Check your Credit Report – You need to know what you are up against in order to strategize how to improve your credit. Request a free copy of your credit report. You can get one free per year from all 3 of the major credit reporting agencies under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Take advantage of this. Requesting and
    checking your own credit score will not affect your score as long as you order it directly from the credit reporting agency.
  2. Dispute Any Errors – Mistakes happen within the credit bureaus. If you find erroneous information in your credit report, formerly protest this to the each of the credit bureaus that has the incorrect information. Don’t be penalized for mistakes that aren’t yours! You can dispute errors online through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  3. Pay Down Debt – keep your credit card balances low. A high debt to credit ratio will drive your credit scores
    down. Make sure that you are using less than 30% of your available credit at the most. Ideally use 10% in order to maximize your credit score.
  4. Negotiate Late Payments – Mistakes happen! It is understandable that you missed a payment here and there. If you have been historically good about making  payments, and just missed a couple here and there, ask for a “good-will adjustment.” Write a letter to Visa emphasizing that you’re a good customer, and ask for the mistake to be erased from your credit.
  5. Set up payment reminders- Use the tools available to you! Some banks have texting or email programs that you can sign up for to make sure that you do not miss a payment. If not, use a calendar and make sure that you have scheduled the dates of your payments to be feasible with your pay period and bill cycle. Late payments look particularly poor on your credit report.

Now you’re getting started! Talk to your financial advisor about more tips to increase your creditworthiness – and be well on your way to purchasing the home of your dreams!

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Spring Market Starts Now, Are You Ready?

While everyone knows that Spring is the busiest time of year in the Real Estate business, an insider tip is to get ahead of the curve and list your home (or start looking for a house) before Spring Market gets into full swing. (“Spring Market” is Real Estate speak for that exciting, frenzied time of year when everyone seems to be buying and selling houses!) Here are three tried and true tips from us professionals on giving your home the chance in the spotlight that it deserves.

  1. Know the Market – Should you buy a new house before you sell your old home? What if your old one doesn’t sell as quickly as you had anticipated? What is a reasonable time frame to sell a home or find a new one based on market trends in your particular area? The answers to these important market questions affect not only your planning and personal peace of mind), but also may affect your financing. That’s why getting expert consultation from someone who is a market professional with deep local knowledge is so key! (Remember: Nobody knows the Brookside Market like Brookside Real Estate!)
  2. Price your Home Correctly – With a continually fluctuating Real Estate market it is important that your home is priced right based on recent buying and selling data from your specific neighborhood target area. Although gathering all of this intelligence can seem a bit overwhelming, pricing your home just right can make all the difference in closing on a property at just the right time. If pricing homes similar sized homes in an area (called “comparables”) is not your area of specific expertise, relax: This is our area of expertise. Not just in Brookside, but in all of the surrounding neighborhoods. Need some home pricing peace of mind? Give us a call at 816-333-3330!
  3. Declutter – One important thing that’s missing from most every well-staged house we view is clutter! While knickknacks and other personal memorabilia are sentimental and make your space personal, unfortunately they don’t help sell your home. A well respected Pro Tip is to get a head start packing to move by packing away items that you don’t need. Remember, a clean, tidy and uncluttered living space is critical to getting the most interest and the best offers for your home.

While braving the Spring Market Real Estate Season may seem daunting, don’t worry. We here at Brookside Real Estate have been through 30 of these Seasons. In fact, you could say that we are “Seasoned Professionals.”  Whether you’re planning to buy or sell this season, stop by our retail office on 63rd Street in Brookside anytime and say, “Hello”!