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What New Interest Rates Mean for Your Mortgage

With interest rates at unprecedented lows, it is increasingly more likely that borrowing costs will be lowered even further on mortgages. This serves as a small silver lining amongst the economic uncertainty Americans are now facing during these tumultuous and ever-changing times.

The Federal Reserve has recently lowered borrowing costs to near zero in a move to counteract the economic shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic. Also unfolding, the 10-year Treasury yield, a key benchmark that influences borrowing costs on houses and auto loans, took a nosedive to historic lows.

Mortgages: Buyers and Refinancers

Mortgage rates have dropped to historical lows as bond yields have fallen, which is a move that could help first-time homebuyers and those who already own, and are looking torefinance. When Treasury yields fall, banks will charge lower interest rates for mortgages. The Federal Reserve announced that it would be cutting its benchmark federal funds rate by 1% to a range of 0% to 0.25%, alongside other measures meant to stimulate the economy.

If you’re considering selling your home in the next few months, contact a neighborhood expert: One of the real estate pros at Brookside Real Estate Company. Call today at (816) 333-3330. Or, stop by our offices in the heart of the Brookside at 9 W. 63rd Street.

 

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Time to Downsize?

When your current home holds you back.

Maybe the children that grew up in your home have now moved into their own homes. Or perhaps the belongings that took you a lifetime to accumulate are now looking more like worthless clutter than valuable treasures. Or maybe you’re just tired of the amount of yard work and weekly cleaning that comes with having a big lawn and excess living space.

If any of the above is a bit truer than you’d like to admit, maybe it’s time to discover a new lifestyle that allows you to abandon the clutter, ditch the lawnmower and say goodbye to excess square footage. Is locking the door and vacationing for weeks without a care (or a house-sitter) part of the master plan? Then maybe the dream home of two decades ago has become today’s ball and chain.

If you’ve been imagining what it would be like to live in a City Market loft, or moving on up to a Power & Light high-rise with a view – or maybe a Country Club Plaza condo where all of your favorite restaurants and shopping are just outside the front door, it might be time for a change. Maybe it’s time to enjoy a much simpler lifestyle. If the idea of someone else parking your car, (or getting rid of your car altogether and commuting by streetcar!), and having access to amenities like swimming pools , club rooms and other social rooms (without having to maintain them when you aren’t using them) is more attractive than ever before – it may be time to downsize!

The good news is, there’s never been a better time to sell your Brookside area home than right now! And no one knows Brookside like the Realtors at Brookside Real Estate. We know neighborhood home values and have buyers contacting us most every day in search of homes of all sizes and in most any condition in the Brookside area. The dream of trading excess square footage and house keys in return for more time to enjoy life may be closer than you think!

For a no obligation price opinion on your current home, to look at one of our condo listings, or if you’re considering selling your home in the next few months, contact a neighborhood expert: One of the real estate pros at Brookside Real Estate Company. Call today at (816) 333-3330. Or, stop by our offices in the heart of the Brookside at 9 W. 63rd Street.

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Buying in to Selling Your Home: Kansas City’s Growth Benefiting Sellers in 2020

The housing market in Kansas City has seen its fair share of growth over the last few years. High demand and low inventory drive up both prices and speed of home sales in Kansas City. A recent analysis by the Federal Housing Finance Agency found that Kansas City metro prices are growing faster than rates in most U.S. cities, including major cities like Denver, Nashville and Austin.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020
New home construction is expected to stall next year, according to a 2020 real estate forecast from Wichita State University. With more potential buyers turning to existing homes, there is more opportunity for sellers thinking about selling their homes. Most experts locally and nationally predict more of the same growth for the Kansas City housing market in 2020. Stanley Longhofer, a professor and director of Wichita State’s Center for Real Estate, predicts that home prices in the Kansas City area will rise by nearly 5% next year. Longhofer said strong economic indicators, like low unemployment rates and growth in jobs, contribute to the growth of the housing market in Kansas City.

Here are the reasons why 2020 might be the year to sell your home:

LACK OF INVENTORY
The only real obstacle for homebuyers is supply: Low inventory has kept the number of homes sold in recent years nearly flat. Says Longhofer “there just are not enough homes available for sale in the neighborhoods and the price ranges that are the most popular people want to buy.” Longhofer said sellers of homes that cost less than $350,000 frequently put their home on the market on a Friday, and essentially have their pick of offers by the end of the weekend. This is an obvious advantage for sellers and chances are, you will get the full asking price. This stagnant amount of inventory often drives up the cost above asking price.

NEW BUYERS NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Overall buyer demand will remain very robust, particularly at the entry level, in 2020. According to a new Realtor.com report, millennials will increase their presence as homeowners and will account for more than 50% of all mortgages by the spring. A large portion of millennials will turn 30 next year, a time when many buy their first home. Millennials are anticipated to drive the U.S. housing market forward in 2020 more than ever, with large cohorts expected to either purchase their first home or decamp from city to suburb and trade up, according to an economic forecast published by Realtor.com on Wednesday.

FAVORABLE INTEREST RATES
The current inventory shortage is predicted to continue, possibly reaching a historic low. On the bright side, the Realtor.com report also predicts mortgage rates will stay reasonable, averaging 3.83% throughout the year. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate started 2019 at 4.68 percent and steadily declined before closing out the year at 3.93 percent. In 2020, rates are expected to remain mostly stable, not straying too much higher or lower from the 4 percent mark. According to a recent article by Bankrate, there is no immediate cause for concern for rising interest rates “We have been in a low interest rate environment for quite some time, and the current signaling from the Fed is that rates will continue to remain low,” says Alexander Akel, president of Akel Homes in South Florida. “Even if they tick up north of 4 percent, they will remain extremely attractive when compared to historical rates.”

Looking to sell your home in 2020? 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!

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Brookside Real Estate Donates to KC Pet Project

KCPP Chief Development Officer, Marie Dispenza and Brookside Real Estate Owner, Jim Kraus

Brookside Real Estate announced a partnership with KC Pet Project during the summer if 2019. With each home bought or sold by Brookside Real Estate during the summer months, a donation was given to help provide medicine, veterinary care, vaccines, food and resources to help KC Pet Project save a record number of pets who have nowhere else to turn. The numbers are in and this holiday season seemed like a great time to present a check, so Brookside Real Estate owner, Jim Kraus, went up to the shelter to present a check to the Chief Development Officer, Marie Dispenza.

With KC Pet Project’s main adoption center currently located in a 50-year old reconverted storage shed, Brookside Real Estate could not be more excited for KC Pet Project’s groundbreaking new Kansas City Campus for Animal Care opening January 1st, 2020. The facility, located in Swope Park at the corner of Gregory Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue, will be one of the premier animal sheltering facilities in the United States.

Ready to buy or sell your home and make a difference in the lives of KC’s homeless pets? Give Jim a call directly on his cell phone at 816-806-7653.

To learn more about KC Pet Project and the great work they do, visit their website here.

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Keep Your Packages Safe from Porch Pirates this Holiday Season!

How to keep your delivered packages out of the hands of thieves

The Brookside neighborhood has been all abuzz lately with various reports of package theft. Online shopping is more common than ever, and unfortunately, so are the doorstep thieves. Even with the increase of home security videos and cameras, there are too many stories of people disregarding these home protection services and still absconding with your packages. Brookside Real Estate is here to offer solutions to save your holiday package delivery!

1. Require a signature on your package delivery. There is a fee when selecting this option but depending on what you are shipping, it may be worth it. However, many people won’t be at home when the package arrives (which is the problem with the package stealing in the first place) so many shipping companies also include options to send packages to alternative locations.

2. Amazon has several alternative shipping options, especially for its Prime members. They offer everything from in-home delivery to in-garage delivery (for those with pets or alarm systems) to Amazon’s locker system. Many of these lockers are placed in local convenience stores or Whole Foods.

3. UPS Access Point System is another great tool. Not a Prime member and looking for your options? UPS allows you to register as a member and send your packages to a UPS Access Point (these include local retailers near you and often CVS locations). The paid premium membership offers a few extra options to your delivery experience, but you can utilize the UPS Access Point system through a regular free membership.

4. FedEx Delivery Manager. FedEx has a similar system set up with Walgreens. Simply sign up for the free membership and let them walk you through locating the closest store to you!

Know that most alternative locations will hold your package for seven days and will require an official ID upon pick up.

5. Leasing Office/Workplace Delivery If you live in an apartment, check with your office management; many places allow you to ship your package to their office from which you can pick up your package during business hours. Alternatively, have your packages delivered to your workplace if appropriate.

When it comes to preventing package theft; know your options! Have all of your holiday gifts delivered knowing that your packages are safer than they are with Santa.

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Why Shopping Locally Matters

Small Business Saturday

Stepping through the front door of a local business can make you feel like a VIP – the barista calls you by name and sincerely asks about your day; the pet store owner knows your dog and all his antics; the local vendor at the farmer’s market checks up on your family.

In a world where busyness consumes our lives, a small business is a vision of growth, compassion, human connection, and intentional investment in the local community. Shopping locally isn’t just a trend, it truly creates an atmosphere of mutual support, creativity, and togetherness!

Why should you shop locally?

  1. For a Stronger Planet – Shopping locally is an ever-growing and popular concept in today’s world of accessibility when just about anything can be purchased from all around the world. When food is purchased from larger chains, those products travel quite a way. Small businesses promote a cleaner environment because the goods produced in your local community don’t have to travel as far, therefore saving on fuel consumption and reducing air pollution.
  2. For a Stronger You – Another benefit, especially with Brookside’s Farmers Market there is less distance between producer and buyer. The fresher the produce, the more nutritious it is! Shopping locally in a farmers’ market means you’re not only promoting environmental wellness, but your own health as well!
  3. For a Stronger Economy – Local businesses, like cafes and boutiques, hire neighbors and often purchase goods from local vendors. This creates an opportunity for employment within the community. Shopping locally also promotes innovation, creativity and diversity because vendors can provide according to their community’s needs and not with a generalized selection of cookie-cutter merchandise.
  4. For a Stronger Community – Local businesses are more likely to invest in the community whereas bigger corporations may donate to larger causes or worldwide aid but invest less in the local community. Shopping locally also increases the connection of neighbors and can develop a sense of community. Mr. Rogers would be proud.

Brookside offers a number of local shopping options from the Farmers Market to boutiques, cafes and one-of-a-kind specialty shops! Take the opportunity on November 30th national Small Business Saturday (or any Saturday!) to shop local and celebrate 100 years of local shopping in Brookside!

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Welcome to the Neighborhood: EB and Co.

New to 63rd Street – Brookside Real Estate Company wants to welcome EB and Co.!

The perfect addition to Brookside, EB and Co. owner, Emily Bordner, has a mission to, “celebrate all the ways accessories empower confidence and inspire individuality.” We recently spoke with Emily to learn more about her new business and why she chose to open in our favorite neighborhood – Brookside!

Tell us a little bit about your background: Are you from Kansas City? What made you decide to open your own shop?

I grew up in Lee’s Summit, but have lived in the KC area most of my life. I’ve been in business for seven years working with different local retailers. Then I had my first personal location as a booth in the Made in KC Marketplace on the Plaza. We’ve been there for just over a year. I have loved having a space there and after getting a taste of that, I knew I had to save up to open a store of my very own. It just felt like that was the next natural progression.

Emily Bordner

Do you design/create your own jewelry pieces? If so, do any of the pieces have a story behind them? 

It’s really a combination. I’ve designed some of the jewelry myself in addition to wholesale many pieces. I’m most proud of the collaborative pieces, which I design with local bloggers and have handmade in Los Angeles. The bloggers and I sit down and think about what’s missing or lacking in the market right then.

Our Shelby pieces were fun. We were trying to come up with something dainty with minimal sparkle that works great for the office or if you’re looking to hit a happy hour. They’ve been our best-selling pieces of jewelry so far! I also design all of the the leather goods, which are all currently manufactured in Kansas City. 

What can customers expect when they shop at EB and Co.? 

We want people to have a chill experience in a modern but welcoming environment. We want people to not feel pressured and take the time to try things on as much as they want. We were able to capture this relaxed and fresh feeling with our hand painted mural, a space to have an Instagram moment and tons of approachable stylish pieces. We aim to have a range of options. We have classic, trendy and multigenerational pieces. We also offer complimentary gift-wrapping which people seem to really like.

Why did you decide to open your shop in Brookside?

I have always loved Brookside and spent a great deal of time there in college when I worked at Bella Napoli, which was such a rewarding experience. Supporting local businesses is a real matter of pride in Brookside. It’s just a fun, exciting place to be. When the space became available, I just had to move on the opportunity to be part of this great community.

What’s your favorite thing about having your shop located in this area? 

I love being among so many long-term shops that span generations from Design in the City to World’s Window to Brookside Toy and Science. As the new kid on the block I have so many wise mentors for neighbors to learn from.

Next time you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by Emily Bordner’s new shop and see for yourself why we love EB & Co.! While you’re here, pay a visit to your friends at Brookside Real Estate Company located at 9 W 63rd St – when the flag is up, we’re open!

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Brookside – Full of Subdivisions Rich in History

Celebrating 100 years this September, Brookside is full of subdivisions rich in Kansas City history. Three of these historic neighborhoods are Crestwood, Countryside and Morningside. Each notable for their own distinctive features, we decided to take a closer look at why these subdivisions make up Kansas City’s best neighborhood – Brookside!

Crestwood

A little city of its own, the Crestwood subdivision was developed in 1920 by the J.C. Nichols Investment Company. Located just south of the UMKC campus to 56th Street between Oak and Holmes, Crestwood was designed as a “garden home” development for “high class residence purposes.” Today, the subdivision is still one of Brookside’s premier neighborhoods full of large, beautiful homes with a variety of architecture including Cape Cods, traditional Colonials and Tudor Revivals, but also Mid-Century Modern and even a home shaped like a teepee!

Countryside

“These are my neighbors, my parish, my everything,” said Brookside Real Estate Owner and Broker, Jim Kraus of the Countryside subdivision. Jim has lived in Countryside all of his life and even sold his first listing there! Noted as the most walkable neighborhood just south of The Plaza, Countryside is located from 51st Street to 57th Street between Oak and Wornall. Directly east of Loose Park, Countryside is still affordable with homes ranging from $220,000 to $1,000,000 this past year. However, homes located west of Main Street are nationally recognized by the KCMO Historic Preservation Commission, meaning approval is needed for additions and the rebuild of homes.

Morningside

Made up of Morningside Park, Meadow Park and Hinkle Place, Morningside is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods Brookside has to offer. Unlike streets in other Brookside subdivisions, Morningside Drive is a street that does not pick back up – making those who live on the limited street very distinctive. A unique feature of Morningside is the old Trolley Track Trail Depot located at 6000 Main Street. Now converted into a family home, many passing by would never know the rich history that lives inside the home.

Ready to see some of the historic Brookside neighborhoods for yourself? Give the Brookside Real Estate (and history!) experts a call at (816) 333-3330. We can’t wait to show you even more reasons why Brookside is Kansas City’s best neighborhood.

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Support Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with Bags of Fun KC

Recognized nationally every September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is a campaign organized to increase awareness of pediatric cancer and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

Almost every day in Kansas City a child is diagnosed with cancer. In 2018 alone, there were more that 16,000 children and adolescents diagnosed and nearly 1,200 children who lost their battle to cancer. With no current cure, it is still the largest killer of children in the United States.

Children undergoing cancer treatments spend an average of 120 days in the hospital. These children can often become depressed, isolated and fearful. Thankfully, a local nonprofit foundation held near and dear to the hearts of everyone here at Brookside Real Estate Company is doing something about this.

Bags of Fun KC/the Gabby Krause Foundation delivers the power of play to children fighting cancer and other long term, life threatening illnesses. Director, Louisa Weinrich explained, “A bag of fun is a backpack filled to the brim with 12-15 items picked specifically for each child’s needs, interests and treatment plan. Each bag of fun is filled with hours of distraction, educational items, as well as items that encourage socialization and items that bring comfort. Not only do bags of fun give the children something to focus on during their treatments, but they also give the families of these children the sense that someone else cares.”

We at Brookside Real Estate have proudly been a local partner of Bags of Fun KC/the Gabby Krause Foundation since their inception in 2011 and have had the pleasure of providing over 200 bags of fun to sick Kansas City children and their families. “All of us here are extremely passionate about helping bring a smile to the faces of these KC children who are being treated for long term, life threatening illnesses,” said Brookside Real Estate Owner and Broker, Jim Kraus, “The opportunity for Brookside Real Estate Company to partner with this organization means a lot to all of us, and we enjoy the opportunity to help spread the word throughout Kansas City and beyond about the fine work this organization does for young cancer patients and their families.”

If you would like to find out how you can help Bags of Fun KC/the Gabby Krause Foundation or sponsor a bag of fun for a child, you can do so by going to their website: www.bagsoffunkansascity.org

 

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Luxury Condo Living in the Heart of KC!

Are you looking to live in one of the finest condominium homes in Kansas City? Look no further than gorgeous condo 305-A located in Hemingway Plaza. With unique features and amenities, after just one look we know you’ll love this one-of-a-kind home.

This Plaza condo has artisan craftsmanship including hardwood accents, textured walls and stone flooring that will make you feel like you’re in a Colorado chalet. Featuring two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a beautiful open floor plan, the 1,808 square foot condo will take your breath away. “The living space has been maximized to its full potential. A condo like this is very hard to come by in Kansas City,” said Brookside Real Estate Company’s Owner and Broker, Jim Kraus.

“We love the Plaza living!” said the current homeowner. “This is the perfect home for entertaining guests. We always have family over for Thanksgiving and go up on the rooftop patio to watch the Plaza Christmas lights turn on.” He continued, “In the fall we love walking across the street to the Plaza Art Fair! We really enjoy living right in the middle of the Kansas City Plaza action.”

The perfect mix of privacy, community and security – this home is the ideal living arrangement. While you have all of the privacy you need in your condo, you’ll also have a strong sense of community with your neighbors. In addition to community and privacy, you can rest easy knowing there is 24-hour security watching the Hemingway Plaza entrances.

More exclusive features include:

  • Custom chef’s kitchen with Viking stainless appliances
  • An enormous center island
  • Built in surround sound speakers
  • Exercise room
  • Valet parking optional
  • Additional storage optional
  • Beautiful rooftop patio overlooking the Plaza

Take a look at the rooftop patio in the videos below:

Ready to see condo 305-A at Hemingway Plaza for yourself? Contact Jim Kraus at 816-806-7653 or stop by our storefront office located at 9 W 63rd St – when the flag is up, we’re open!

Click here for more listing information.