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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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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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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”!

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Brookside 64113 Top Ten in the U.S.

The national news media seems to be catching on to what locals have known for some time: Kansas City is a wonderful place to call home. Forbes recently named Kansas City’s downtown experience in their top 20 list and Huffington Post listed Kansas City in their list of top 5 American cities to keep on your radar. Now, local ZIP Code 64113 (the Brookside area), has been listed by Real Estate publisher Movoto as one of the “Top 10 best ZIP Codes in America.”

Everyone loves a good list, but we like this one in particular for its methodology. The Movoto Top Ten list was created using the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. The criteria considered were quite analytical:

  • Median Household Income (the higher the better)
  • Unemployment Rate (the lower the better)
  • Average Commute Time (the lower the better)
  • Median Rent (the higher, the more desirable an area)
  • Median House Worth (the higher, the more desirable an area)
  • High School Graduation Rate (the higher, the better)
  • Families Below the Poverty Line (the lower, the better)

While the Brookside area is often recognized for beautiful early twentieth century homes, tall Oak trees, picturesque drives, wide open parks and one-of-a-kind shops; the Census data reveals 64113 is also a leading neighborhood statistically. With a high school graduation rate of 99.53 percent and an unemployment rate of under 3 percent, the 64113 ZIP Code also boasts a whopping average household income of $119,676 and a nearly nonexistent poverty rate. In fact, the Brookside area matches up quite favorably against every neighborhood in the entire country!

We here at Brookside Real Estate are not in the least bit surprised, we’ve always known that Brookside is both pretty and smart! After all, not only do we specialize in 64113 (Brookside’s primary ZIP), but most of our agents also call this ZIP Code home.

New and exciting developments continue to come to the area. Butch Rigby and other developers have invested much to extend the Brookside neighborhood vibe east of Oak for several blocks down 63rd Street. And the opening of the new Red Door Grill has been a fun new attraction this winter season.

Even pets will love 64113. Not only the wide and picturesque Trolley Trail the area boasts, but also popular neighborhood merchant, the Brookside Barkery and Bath – Kansas City’s leading organic pet food supplier and pet spa!

Is 64113 the next 90210? We’d rather it not, but we still think our neighborhood’s exceptionally likable. Want to see what all the buzz is about? Come check out the area yourself. We know you’ll fall in love with Brookside. And when you do, give us a call here at Brookside Real Estate. Now celebrating our 30th year right here in Brookside, no one is better able to help you find the home of your dreams in one of the top neighborhoods in the country.

Call Brookside Real Estate today: 816-333-3330!