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Kansas City Winter Storm Power Outages: What to Do to Stay Safe

At the peak of Kansas City’s past weekend winter storm, 160,000 Kansas City Power & Light customers were without power. This is still the case today for a handful of those customers. Being without a steady supply of heat impacts not only you and your family, but your home can suffer from dampness – damaging walls, floors and plumbing. With another round of winter weather set to hit this coming weekend, it’s important to be prepared.

Take a look at Brookside Real Estate’s tips to keep your family and home safe during a winter power outage.

  • Stay Warm: Dress in layers and huddle under extra blankets with your family members and pets to share body heat. Use towels or blankets to block any drafts around windows and doors. Find the warmest room in your house to stay in.
  • Keep Your Food Cold: Food can stay frozen 24-36 hours if the refrigerator/freezer doors remained closed. For refrigerated items, consider using coolers with ice to preserve the more important items. It’s also important to stalk up on non-perishable foods such as bread, peanut butter, canned tuna, trail mix, protein bars and more prior to the start of the coming storm.
  • Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Although tempting, don’t attempt to make makeshift heaters like clay pot heaters or use a gas stove to stay warm. We suggest having your fireplace and chimney cleaned before using. Fires and carbon monoxide are both very serious risks.
  • Prevent Additional Damage: Unplug all appliances and electronics to avoid a surge when the power comes back on. If you have electric heat, keep all water taps on a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing and potentially bursting. NOTE: if your power goes out while you’re cooking, disconnect your stove immediately.
  • Consider Purchasing an Emergency Generator: Generators can supply enough power to keep our households operating until the electricity returns. Having a portable electrical generator on hand in the event of a major power outage can help your family weather the storm.
  • Stay with Someone Who Has Power: If the temperature dips as low as predicted, and you do not have a generator, it might be best to leave your home. In the case of evacuation, turn off the main breaker, circuit breaker panel or power supply box. Turn off the water main and drain all water from the system. If you have a gas heater, turn out the pilot light. Lastly, be sure to remove all valuables off the basement floor in the case of flooding.
  • Back in Business: When the power comes back on, verify once more that all appliances and electronics have been unplugged before turning the main power switch on to prevent power surge damage. Turn the water supply back on, keeping the taps on the lowest level of your home closed to allow air to be released out of the upper taps. Keep your heater slightly above normal temperature for a few hours to help your house dry. Don’t forget to check your food supplies for spoilage.

Be safe and stay warm this weekend, Kansas City!

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Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2019

Take a look at this recent article from U.S. News:

“Few people are predicting that 2019 will be a record-breaking year for home prices.

But relatively speaking, 2019 might be the best time for you to put your house on the market. Especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next, Nick Ron, CEO of House Buyers of America, recommends going with the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t.

“I think it’ll be better than 2020 and 2021 – who knows what’s going to happen in those years,” Ron says.

Home price growth slowed in the second half of 2018, with fewer buyers entering the market, at least partially due to rising interest rates issued by the Federal Reserve. In 2019, consumers shouldn’t expect homebuyers to flood the market again and drive prices through the roof, but it’s also unlikely to be a crisis for home sellers.

If you bought your house in the last year or two, still love it and don’t want to part with it, go ahead and wait another five years before revisiting the thought of selling. But if you’re weighing your options to sell, considering selling this year or maybe the year after, don’t play the waiting game. Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2019.

New buyers are still entering the market. As interest rates rise, some buyers will hesitate to make an offer on a home or apply for a mortgage, so be ready to see occasional drops in buyer activity. And if your house is at the higher end of the price range in your market, you should expect less buyer interest than before. Ron notes the combination of rising mortgage rates and home prices exceeding buyers’ budgets are what has caused the slowing of homebuyer activity in recent months.

But with available housing inventory remaining low, even with rising interest rates, buyers who are ready to make a purchase will still shop for homes. The biggest wave of new homebuyers will be among millennials, who are mostly first-time buyers. In a Harris Poll survey of 2,000 U.S. adults commissioned by real estate information company Trulia, more than one-fifth of Americans between ages 18 and 34 said they plan to buy a home within the next 12 months. Already, millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 36 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors, which released the number in March 2018.

The bottom line: While houses may sit on the market for a few more days on average compared with 2017 when the market was white-hot, buyers remain active and it’s still possible to profit from your home sale.

Interest rates are still low-ish. Mortgage interest rates are rising, reaching 4.87 percent in November for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, per data from Freddie Mac. While rates are at their highest level since February 2011, they remain much lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981.

It’s important to keep in mind that while mortgage rates tend to mirror the Fed’s interest rate activity, mortgage rates are based on the market in that moment, your financial status and the property you’re looking to purchase.

Just because the Fed raises rates at one meeting doesn’t mean mortgage rates will follow that exact pattern. “Not every Fed increase is passing on (to) a mortgage rate,” says John Pataky, executive vice president and chief consumer and commercial banking executive at TIAA Bank.

A sudden leap in mortgage interest rates is unlikely in 2019, though Pataky notes that you should be ready to see rates continue to climb. “We do expect over the next 12 months that mortgage rates will continue to drift higher,” he says.

If you’re looking to get the lowest interest rate possible on your next house, try to make a deal sooner rather than later.

You have high equity. Homeowners who bought during the recession or shortly after benefitted from historically low interest rates and, up until around 2015, lower home prices that were still in recovery mode. If you fall into that category, your home equity has risen with nearly every mortgage payment, each renovation you made to the house and all the other houses on the block that sold for a higher price.

The higher your equity in your home, the more you net from the sale, which can easily go toward the down payment on your next house. The larger your down payment, the better you look to lenders and the lower your interest rate will be, and the less likely you’ll need to increase monthly payments with private mortgage insurance.

Selling in 2019 vs. 2020. If not selling your home in 2019 means putting your house on the market in 2020, the sooner option is the best one. In a survey of 100 U.S. real estate experts and economists by real estate information company Zillow, released in May, almost half expect the next recession to occur in 2020. Another 14 percent believe the recession will hold out until 2021, while 24 percent of panelists expect the recession earlier – sometime in 2019.

Whether you believe the recession is imminent or a long way off, current real estate patterns indicate a sudden upswing in activity or prices is unlikely in the near future. Real estate markets tend to operate on a cycle of their own, the length of which varies by market but can be between 10 and 16 years total and flow from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market with a period of balance in between.

“It doesn’t look like there’s anything on the horizon that’s going to cause a big spike in home prices or increase demand dramatically,” Ron says.”

Looking to sell your home in 2019? The experts at Brookside Real Estate are here to help! 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!