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Brookside Voted KC’s Best Neighborhood!

The people have spoken: The Pitch “Best of Kansas City” winner for Best Neighborhood is none other than (drum roll please): Brookside! It’s true, Brookside Real Estate’s namesake neighborhood edged out noteworthy neighborhood finalists including Hyde Park, Union Hill, Waldo and Westport in The Pitch’s annual competition to find KC’s best. Of course, the team at Brookside Real Estate recognized this quite some time ago – and now we’re here to share our top 5 reasons why Brookside is truly Kansas City’s very best neighborhood!

1. A Great Place to Walk: When you live in Brookside you’re just a hop, skip, jump or short walk away from anything and everything you want or need! Get some fresh air while you grab a cup of coffee at The Roasterie, take your furry friend on a walk to The Barkery for a treat, stop in the Brookside Market for some gourmet groceries, or meet your friends at Brookside Barrio for the happiest of happy hours. Brookside residents know there’s no need to drive – they just slip on their walking shoes and make the quick trip to “downtown” Brookside!

2. Brookside is Local: Another favorite aspect of Brookside is all the locally owned shops and businesses. Living Local is a wonderful attribute that sets Brookside apart from most other KC neighborhoods. In fact, just about any time you set foot into a shop along the Brookside shopping promenade, you’re bound to be greeted by a smiling and familiar face! Home to over 70 unique shops, restaurants, boutiques and small businesses, you can’t help but support local business, local families, local products and/or local makers any time you shop in Brookside.

3. Community: Contrary to most neighborhoods today, Brookside is truly the definition of a tight-knit community. That community-connectedness is especially on display during events like Brookside’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Brookside Art Annual. Newer events like Trick or Treat Street, Sip & Shop and Brookside’s Holiday Season Opener give newbies a chance to get to know the community. Many of the residential streets of the neighborhood throw summer or fall block parties – closing streets for daytime games and lasting into the night with music, food and fun activities for both young and old. It’s just what you’d expect from this family-friendly neighborhood that has a little bit of something for everyone!

4. Unique Architecture: Full of well-built single-family homes, each house in Brookside is unique and almost all have a rich history. Ranging in style from smaller American Tudors and Craftsmen Bungalows to larger Colonial revivals and American Georgian styles, no two houses are the same in Brookside. Interested in taking a peek inside a Brookside home or two? We know just who to call!

5. Increasing Property Values: Home values in Brookside have increased 9.5% over the past year and are predicted to rise another 3.5% within the coming year! When you choose to buy a home in Brookside not only do you get to enjoy this special community on an everyday basis – you’re also making a smart financial decision.

Are you looking to become a part of Kansas City’s Best Neighborhood? Give the home pros at Brookside Real Estate Company a call at (816) 333-3330 or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd St – when the flag is up, we’re open. We can’t wait to share even more reasons why Brookside is KC’s Best Neighborhood!

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The History of Brookside’s Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail

If you are familiar with the Brookside area, chances are you have seen, or even taken a jog on, the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. The 6-mile-long Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail is one of Kansas City’s most popular trails for walkers, runners and cyclists. Some of you may be wondering: Where did this trail come from? Has it always just been a walking trail? Who is Harry Wiggins? We’ve done some digging and are here to fill you in on the history of the Trolley Track Trail.

Named after the departed Missouri state senator who helped secure funding for the trail, the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail was originally the site of Kansas City’s last streetcar line, the Country Club Line, prior to today’s RideKC Streetcar. The Country Club Line was the golden opportunity for transportation to the Brookside Shops, outlasting the struggling streetcar system throughout the rest of the city.

Country Club Line (#56) at the Brookside Station, circa 1950 Courtesy of Wilborn & Associates

The trip from downtown Kansas City to Brookside and back was a great adventure on the Country Club Line. One could, “travel from the tranquility of tree-lined streets to the exotic views of the Plaza, then north on Main buzzing along with the traffic as the car slipped past apartment buildings and warehouses and then finally to the glittering canyons of downtown, filled with the allure of the department store windows,” LaDene Morton stated in The Brookside Story: Shops of Every Necessary Character. Regardless of the trip, the gateway to all adventures was the transit stop at 54th Street and Brookside Boulevard – where the restored station remains to this day.

Though the last run for the Country Club Line was in 1957, the tracks remained intact long after. “To the neighborhood, they were a nostalgic reminder of the days gone by. To others, they marked a critical easement, a valuable piece of property with potential for many purposes,” Morton stated. Over the years, there were repeated attempts to reclaim the full right-of-way for a variety of purposes, at one point even including talks of a freeway. Those plans were clearly never executed, but in the 1990s, the easement was converted to a bike and pedestrian trail, still known today as the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail.

Is there potential for the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail to be converted back into a streetcar line? A recent vote to extend the RideKC Streetcar from the River Market to UMKC is currently the talk of the town. Some proponents want to see the line extended an additional 6.3 miles along the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. Some say they would like to see the streetcar line run alongside the Trolley Track Trail, accommodating those who would like to keep the trail for pedestrians and bikers. Although nothing is confirmed as of now, we’re certain there will be more talk about the future of the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail.

Looking to buy a home and learn even more about the history of Brookside? Turn to the Brookside Real Estate (and history!) experts. Give us a call at (816) 333-3330 or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd St – when the flag is up, we’re open!

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Brookside’s Hidden Treasures: Pocket Parks

What is a pocket park? Pocket parks are hidden landlocked green areas taken care of by the subdivision Homes Association. In fact, if your house doesn’t back up to a pocket park, there’s a good chance you have no idea the pocket parks we are about to explore even exist! Although they are open to the public, pocket parks don’t have a public entrance like most parks. To get to these hidden treasures, you must cut between houses. Let’s take a closer look at Brookside Real Estate Company’s top 5 Brookside pocket parks!

  1. Grand Avenue Pocket Park: One of the larger pocket parks in the area, Grand Ave Pocket Park located at 66th Terr & Edgevale, is the perfect open space for children to play. Join the Pocket Park Cleanup Workday October 6 starting at 9:30am! Trash bags and water will be provided – just bring your gloves and yard tools to help get the park cleaned up. Following the workday will be Movie Night in the Park! All you need to bring are chairs and blankets – popcorn and a movie on the big screen will be provided by the Armour Hills Homes Association. What a fun way to get the family involved and get to know your neighbors!
  2. Southside of Edgevale Pocket Park: The ideal space for a game of baseball and/or kickball! The best part? There is plenty of space with a fence behind home plate, so you won’t have to worry about a foul ball ending with a broken window! Located at 66th & Main, this pocket park is easily accessible by turning down the back alley between houses. Pack an afterschool snack and enjoy a picnic at the provided picnic table while the kids release all their built-up energy.
  3. Greenway Fields Pocket Park: Located just north of 63rd & Valley, this pocket park is so tucked away that most neighbors have no idea it even exists. This hidden treasure is full of playground equipment to keep the kids entertained for hours! From swing sets to a jungle gym, there is something for most everyone at the Greenway Fields Pocket Park!
  4. Happy Woods Pocket Park: Right in the heart of Crestwood at 55th between Oak & Cherry, this spacious pocket park has plenty of room for various activities. Eat lunch at one of three park tables, read a book while seated on the private bench, swing on the swing set, climb around the playground or play catch in the open land. Happy Woods Pocket Park is a beautiful place to sit back and relax while your kids release their energy!
  5. Cherry Woods Pocket Park: Another Crestwood gem, Cherry Woods Pocket Park at 55th between Cherry & Holmes, is the last pocket park on our list! A park with plenty of space for the kids to play, Cherry Woods has a playground and trampoline, as well as a table and lounge chairs for the less active. End your day with an evening at Cherry Woods Pocket Park!

Looking to move to the Brookside area and take advantage of these beautiful pocket parks + more? Give us a call at (816) 333-3330 or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd St – when the flag is up, we’re open! We can’t wait to show you all of the aspects that make Brookside the most sought after place to live in KC.

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Tips to Take on Spring Storm Season

April showers bring May flowers! Though spring is much welcomed after the lengthy KC winter months, it comes with the possibility of severe weather with potential property damage resulting in financial loss for residents. Flooding, high winds and lightning are the most common weather-related causes of damage in the Kansas City Metro area.

Your friends here at Brookside Real Estate Company have seen more than a little weather damage throughout our years in the neighborhood and want to share a little precautionary advice that may help protect you and your home this spring season:

Flooding:

  • Ensure any leaks on your roof are repaired to prevent water from leaking into your home.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working correctly.
  • Clean your gutters and remove any objects that could block water from flowing through down spouts and away from your home.
  • If water does accumulate in your home, be sure to pull-up any wet carpet immediately to prevent mold growth.

High Winds:

  • Inspect your roof for loose shingles – or tiles – prior to storm season. Repair or replace if necessary.
  • Secure – or store – any outdoor items that may easily be swept up by gusts of wind (ex. patio furniture, cushions and outdoor umbrellas).
  • Keep windows shut to prevent high wind or hail damage.
  • Identify a designated safe space in your home for you and your family in case of tornadoes.

Lightning:

  • Disconnect computers and their cables from power sources when travelling or away from home (for example, while on vacation).
  • Keep non-essential electronics unplugged when not using them.
  • Avoid using computers and other electronics during thunderstorms.
  • Avoid showering during thunderstorms as lightning can travel through plumbing systems.

There you have it – some helpful tips for protecting your home and loved ones during spring storm season! If property damage does occur, be certain to contact your insurance provider and take pictures of any damage. Consult the National Weather Service website to monitor weather conditions in your area.

Looking to buy or sell a home this spring? The real estate professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company are always here to help! With over 30 years of experience in Kansas City and significant expertise in Brookside and other surrounding Kansas City neighborhoods, no one is better qualified to assist with your home buying or selling needs. Give us a call at: (816) 333-3330, or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd any time to chat – about the weather, real estate or anything else that’s on your mind!

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30 Years and Beyond!

2017 was the 30th Anniversary of Brookside Real Estate, and we took that has an opportunity to refresh
our commitment to the Brookside Community and as a challenge to being as accessible as possible to the buyers and sellers in this wonderful neighborhood we call home. As we bid farewell to 2017, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a great year and thank all the wonderful clients that have made the past 12 months (not to mention 30 years!) so special.

We started 2017 by launching a brand-new website with an updated look and feel and, also, as our smartphone users have certainly noticed, we became mobile-friendly! Our new website has made it easier than ever to connect with any of the agents at Brookside Real Estate – and review up-to-the-minute new listings!

On the “put a face with a name” front, we made it easier than ever to recognize our friendly crew of agents with several new billboards around town. We also created a short video (conveniently linked on our website) so you can get to know our agents a little better and learn more about our Brookside community.

To make our Brookside office easier to spot (especially in these shortened-sunlight days of fall and winter), we gave our 63rd Street office signage a graphic facelift and – drum roll please – powered up the backlights of the sign for the first time in 30 years! Rain or shine, if our flag is flying and our lights are on, stop on by and say “Hi!” – we’re always in the mood to meet a new friend!

Another goal for our anniversary year was to get the word out about Brookside to apartment dwellers and millennials who might not know the ins and outs of what it takes to buy a home. We thought, “What better way to educate and socialize than over an adult beverage on the back deck?” This inspired brainstorming led directly to Brookside Real Estate’s “First Time Home Buyer Happy Hours”!

Beyond sharing a beer and small bites, it was clear that first time home buyers have a lot of questionsand often wanted more knowledge about buying without a major commitment. Our goal was to answer commonly asked questions, clear up any misconceptions, lay out steps along the home-buyer timeline, and take away some of the mystery from sometimes ominous-sounding home buying terms.

The team here at Brookside Real Estate are thankful for the success we’ve experienced in 2017. Without a doubt, it wouldn’t be possible without our great clients! We welcome 2018 and we’re committed to continue to provide our new clients with the same high level of personal service, commitment and dedication that past clients have come to expect. We especially look forward to developing new relationships with even more wonderful clients in Brookside – and throughout the Kansas City community!

We wish you and your family enjoy a very Happy Holiday season and have a safe and happy New Year!

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Spotlight on Business Friends in Brookside

Brookside’s many great shops, restaurants and small businesses are an essential part of the mix that makes the Brookside neighborhood truly unique! Many of the great shops and businesses are locally owned, offering everything from delicious cuisine and great cups of coffee to one of a kind fashion finds from around the world and even a mini-fleet of pest-prohibiting bold and blue Volkswagens that are sure to put pests to rest in less than a flash. All told, Brookside is home to over 70 shops, restaurants, boutiques, offices and small businesses. We’re proud to share a few more of our favorites with you!

Carmen’s Café has been a local Brookside favorite since the Bautista brothers, Juan and Francisco, opened at 63rd and Brookside Plaza back in 1999. Carmen’s is a friendly neighborhood Italian-style bistro with a flair for Latin tapas – all served up with a nice glass of wine. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner spot for two, a business lunch for four – or a banquet space for a large gathering of family and friends, Carmen’s has you covered! Try their delicious chicken spiedini or steak modiga – and don’t forget to start with their signature stuffed artichoke! You can expect a warm welcome, superior customer service and some of the best Italian cuisine in the city!

Brookside Real Estate

A great cup of coffee is also easy to find in Brookside! Founded in a Brookside basement back in 1993,nobody does coffee quite like The Roasterie. Founder and Brookside neighbor Danny O’Neill picked his first batch of coffee beans in Costa Rica starting his decades long love affair with making great coffee! Fast forward to 2005 and The Roasterie in Brookside opened. Voted “Best Coffee Shop in Kansas City” by KC Magazine five times and counting, The Roasterie is just the spot to get your day started with a hot cup of one of their signature blend coffees and a bagel or pastry – or catch a mid-afternoon espresso and people watch on their outdoor patio.

Brookside Real Estate

World’s Window allows shoppers to see and buy treasures of the world – all from the heart of Brookside. An experience like no other, World’s Window is your passport to the world of great shopping. Owners Jan and Lonnie Buerge believe shopping should be fun and with World’s Window they’ve hit that mark and beyond. When you walk in, you’re immersed in colors, sounds and smells that will remind you of places way beyond Kansas City. Whether you’re looking for decor for your home, a one-of-a-kind gift for a friend, or just the experience of traveling around the world in no time at all, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for at World’s Window.

Brookside Real Estate
Photo Courtesy of 435 Magazine

Not only does Brookside offer unique shopping and dining, it also boasts more than a few successful small businesses. Known by Brookside locals for their mini-fleet of Blue Beetles (over a dozen royal blue Volkswagens with a flair), Blue Beetle is your one stop shop for all things pest control. Started by Brookside resident Mitch Shipman 14 years ago, Blue Beetle services the entire KC metro and can solve anything from termite problems, mosquitoes, or bed bug treatments. The best part – their team of professional technicians are “dedicated to take care of whatever is bugging you”!

Be sure to check out any of these great businesses the next time you’re in Brookside! While you’re at it, stop by and say “Hi” to Brookside Real Estate – at 9 West 63rd Street. We’d be happy to chat with you and help you make our charming Brookside neighborhood your home too!

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Brookside Shops – Making BKS Great

There are so many reasons that we love Brookside, beyond our great residential neighbors, the charming shops and unique businesses are at the top of our list! The Brookside shopping area has everything from fine dining and superlative spirits, to fitness centers and a toy store! This time we thought we’d share 4 of our favorite neighborhood go-tos that we think you might want to visit!

  • Locally owned and operated since 1964, Brookside Toy & Science on 63rd Street has long been known as “the best toy store ever” by generations of kids in Brookside! And it’s no wonder – they’ve got everything from science kits and science fair supplies to alligator heads and skeletons! Plus, the staff are the most helpful toy experts in town. When you want to feel like a kid again – or you need just the right gift for the youngster in your life, be sure to stop by and check out an amazing toy collection like none you’ve seen before!
  • Mike’s Wine and Spirits. Specializing in a massive selection of craft beers, Mike's Liquorfine wines, and liquors, Mike’s Wine and Spirits has 3 locations in KC – and one of them is in the heart of Brookside! As a Kansas City native, owner Mike Doohan started his business in 2001. Currently living nearby in Waldo, he’s able to stay involved with the Brookside community that supports his business. Next time you’re thinking about trying out a new adult beverage, stop by Mike’s Wine and Spirits on 63rd Street – and better yet, they’ve got complimentary tastings every Friday!

Brookside Real Estate

  • Orange Theory Fitness Studio on Main Street is a gym that has easy parking, a friendly staff, bright colors and is sure to have a just the right class for your specific fitness level! One of the great things about Orange Theory Fitness is their knowledgeable fitness trainers. They’ll keep you motivated and make sure you know how to safely and most effectively use all their equipment. The best part? You can try Orange Theory out for free! All you need to do is schedule a time.
  • A former legend of Waldo has been resurrected and is better than ever on 63rd Street in Brookside: Brookside Real Estate Michael Forbes Bar and Grille. Forbes Cross and his culinary crew have served up a large and delicious menu of homemade entrees for breakfast, lunch and dinner for over 30 years in Kansas City. Fittingly, their moto is “Eat Well, Live Well” and they strive to create a “Cheers” type of neighborhood atmosphere. Be sure to stop in and try something special from their broad menu – from their yummy steaks, to fresh seafood and pasta!

Suffice to say, the Brookside neighborhood is full of charming local businesses. Bring a friend and stop in and visit any of Brookside’s dozens of quaint shops and eateries and maybe chat up a few neighbors! While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by 9 West 63rd Street – the home of Brookside Real Estate – to find out how you can make this special neighborhood your very own home!

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Brookside 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 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 our friend Joe Grego from the mortgage business to offer his expertise! He and our very own Brookside Real Estate agent Ellen Zetmeir 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, August 22 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 and Mortgage 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, August 22, 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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Mistakes Not to Make: Homebuyers Edition

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Let’s face it, sometimes the home-buying process can be overwhelming and all you want is to make sure that you aren’t making any terrible mistakes. Brookside Real Estate understands; with that in mind we have put together a list of the most common errors people make when buying a home – and how to avoid them.

  1. Do not shop for a home without an agent.
    Since we are Real Estate Agents, this may sound a bit self-serving – but read along and you’ll see our point. First, remember as a Buyer with Brookside Real Estate Company: You don’t pay for the Realtor’s service!  The Realtor’s compensation comes from the seller. (And unlike some other local brokerages Brookside Real Estate Company charges no transaction fees to buyers.) Buyer’s Agents are solely there to make all your home-owning dreams come true, and guide you through what can be a complex legal process.Brookside Managing Broker Jim Kraus compares the process of home buying to a court case, “Just like you wouldn’t go into a court of law without proper representation, attempting to buy a home without proper professional representation from an experienced Realtor is risky.  And truly, it just makes good sense to use a Realtor to protect your personal interests when making what is generally the largest purchase of your life!”
  1. Don’t hold out for a more perfect house.
    Drive around, gather ideas of what you want, the neighborhoods you like, even make a Pinterest board – all of this is helpful. But do not shop for a home without a trusted Realtor.If you aren’t designing and building your house, then chances are there isn’t going to be one that’s perfect in every way. That’s why it is important to make a list of your “would be nice” features versus your “must haves” features. This helps keep priorities straight and may help you find the home that is truly a great match for your needs – and simplify the decision process.
  1. Don’t forget to budget for Closing Costs.
    Closing Costs are the third-party fees associated with the transactions process of buying your new home. These include appraisals, credit reports, underwriters, inspections, etc. Your Realtor will be able to give you a rough estimate of closing costs once the seller accepts your offer – but you can expect anywhere from 2% to 7% of the cost of the house for closing fees. While the sellers may sometimes contribute funds to cover some of these costs (fees), the majority will be paid by the buyer (and rolled into your total home loan). Brace yourself, and don’t forget to add Closing Costs into your budget.

So, there you have it – now you’re well on your way to avoiding the most common mistakes of the home-buying process. And, especially don’t forget Step #1: Find a great Real Estate Agent you can trust – one who’ll listen to your needs, be an expert on the neighborhood, and look out for your very best interests. Look no further than Brookside Real Estate! Give us a call at 816-333-3330, or stop in and say “Hello” at 9 W 63rd Street – located in the heart of Brookside.

More about Brookside Real Estate, watch our video:

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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!