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Deck the Halls: Your Ultimate Guide to Holiday Decorating

If you’re as excited as we are about turning your home into a winter wonderland, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s make your home look as festive as possible with these holiday decorating tips:

1. Lights, Camera, Action! Start by illuminating your home with warm, twinkling lights. String them around your tree, drape them along banisters, and even frame your windows. Pro tip: Opt for LED lights—they’re energy-efficient and won’t heat up!

2. Get Crafty with Ornaments Create a personal touch with DIY ornaments. Involve the whole family in crafting unique decorations. It’s a fantastic way to make memories while making your home extra special.

3. Cozy Vibes with Textiles Nothing says ‘holiday’ like cozy blankets and pillows. Toss some festive-themed cushions on your sofa, add a warm throw, and voila—your living room is transformed into a snug winter retreat.

4. Fragrant Delights Elevate the ambiance by introducing scents of the season. Light up candles with scents like cinnamon, pine, or gingerbread. It’s an instant mood booster that makes your space feel warm and inviting.

5. Greenery Galore Bring the outdoors in with greenery. A wreath on the front door, garlands on the staircase, and a few potted plants can add a touch of nature to your holiday decor.

6. Personalize Your Space Incorporate family traditions into your decor. Hang stockings with care, display holiday cards, and showcase cherished family photos. It’s all about making your space uniquely yours.

7. Budget-Friendly Finds Holiday decorating doesn’t have to break the bank. Hit up local thrift stores or craft shops for affordable, unique decor. You’ll be amazed at what treasures you can uncover without splurging. Hobby Lobby always has great deals on decor!

There you have it—your roadmap to turning your home into a festive haven. Enjoy the process, get creative, and make this holiday season one to remember! 🎁🏠

We would love to see some of your decorations. Send in pictures to and we will feature them on our social media pages!

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Thank you Border Star

The students from Border Star Montessori gave our building a makeover with their wonderful Christmas drawings. There is snow, Christmas trees, candles, all things Christmas! Take a look at our office windows while stopping by, you won’t want to miss it.

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New to Brookside

6931 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO 64131

Nestled between the Waldo and Brookside Shopping Districts, this Tudor home features and updated kitchen with stainless appliances, newer cabinets, counters and a subway backsplash. Laundry has been relocated off the kitchen too! There are 2 bedrooms on the main level plus and updated bathroom and one bedroom and another newer bathroom upstairs. But the best is yet to come! Be sure and check out the MASSIVE (18×11) Walk-in Closet/Dressing Room off the large bedroom upstairs complete with built-ins to accommodate anyone’s wardrobe! Exterior features a wrap-around front porch and a flagstone patio out back, perfect for the upcoming cool evenings and morning coffee.

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Creating a Cozy Home for Fall

As autumn arrives, it’s time to give your home a warm and welcoming makeover. Here are some quick tips to make your space cozy and comfortable for the fall season:

1. Colorful Accents: Add autumnal hues like deep oranges, reds, and browns through throw pillows and blankets to give your space a warm, seasonal vibe.

2. Seasonal Decor: Use pumpkins, gourds, and fall foliage as simple yet effective decorations. A wreath on your front door and a centerpiece on your dining table can instantly bring the fall spirit indoors.

3. Fireplace Prep: Ensure your fireplace is ready for use by scheduling an inspection and stocking up on firewood. Keep cozy blankets and pillows nearby for those chilly nights.

4. Ambient Lighting: Swap out bright bulbs for warmer ones and introduce candles or string lights to create a cozy atmosphere.

5. HVAC Checkup: Prepare for cooler weather by having your heating system checked and maintaining filters for efficient and comfortable indoor temperatures.

6. Weatherproofing: Seal gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping and caulking to keep drafts at bay and save on energy costs.

7. Fall Yard Care: Keep your yard tidy by raking leaves and consider planting fall-blooming flowers for added curb appeal.

8. Cozy Bedding: Upgrade your bedding with flannel sheets and extra blankets for a snug night’s sleep.

9. Baking Delights: Embrace fall flavors by baking homemade treats like pies, muffins, and cookies to infuse your home with delicious aromas.

10. Outdoor Enjoyment: Extend outdoor gatherings with patio heaters or fire pits. Set up a comfortable seating area and savor the beauty of fall foliage from your own backyard.

With these simple touches, you can transform your home into a cozy haven for the fall season. Enjoy the warmth and comfort that autumn brings to your space.

Happy Fall! 🍂🏡✨

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Why Selling Your Home in the Fall Makes Perfect Sense

Hey there, fellow homeowners and future sellers! 🏡🍂 If you’re thinking about selling your home and wondering when the best time might be, We’ve got some insider tips that could make a real difference. We all know that timing can be everything, and when it comes to the seasons, fall might just be your golden ticket. As a company who’s all about helping folks make the most of their home-selling journey, We’re here to spill the beans on why selling your home in the fall could be a savvy move. So, let’s dive into why the fall real estate market might just be the hidden gem you’ve been waiting for! 🎃🍁


  1. Beautiful Curb Appeal: Fall is known for its gorgeous colors and cozy vibes. When potential buyers come to see your home, they’ll be greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere. The colorful leaves and mild weather can enhance your home’s curb appeal, making a positive first impression.
  2. Less Competition: During the winter, many people tend to hold off on selling their homes due to the holiday season and the colder weather. This means that your home could stand out more in the fall, with less competition from other sellers. It’s a great chance to attract serious buyers who are actively looking.
  3. Motivated Buyers: Speaking of serious buyers, those who are shopping for a home in the fall are often more motivated. They might be trying to settle in before the holiday season or get a jump on the new year. This can lead to quicker negotiations and a smoother selling process.
  4. Still Plenty of Time: Selling in the fall gives buyers enough time to close the deal and move in before the snow starts falling. It avoids the urgency of the winter months when buyers might want to move in ASAP to avoid the cold.
  5. Home Inspection Advantage: If your home has any issues that need attention, selling in the fall gives you time to address them before putting your home on the market. This can help avoid any last-minute hurdles that might arise during the winter selling season.
  6. Stable Market: Fall is generally a more stable market compared to the unpredictable ups and downs of winter. This stability can work in your favor as a seller, making negotiations smoother and reducing the chances of complications.
  7. Online House Hunting: Many buyers start their house hunting journey online, and they can do so from the comfort of their cozy homes during the fall. Your home’s online presence can attract more potential buyers during this time.


To sum it up, the fall real estate market provides a unique window for homeowners seeking to sell. The warm autumn atmosphere, decreased competition, and motivated buyers come together to create a promising scenario. The stable market in this season, coupled with the extra time before winter, gives sellers an advantage in showcasing their properties.

As the leaves change and the air gets crisp, remember that your home could be the next to captivate a buyer’s interest. At Brookside Real Estate, we’re fully dedicated to assisting you throughout your home-selling journey. Our expertise aligns seamlessly with the benefits the fall season offers. If you’re considering selling, don’t hesitate to contact us. Together, let’s make your fall selling experience a success.🏡🍂🍁

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Back-to-School Shopping in Kansas City

As summer break winds down, it’s time to gear up for back-to-school shopping. Kansas City has got you covered with an array of fantastic shopping spots to make your transition from summer mode to study mode a breeze. Let’s explore these smooth and easy back-to-school shopping options in the City of Fountains!

1. The Plaza Parade:

Start your journey at the iconic Country Club Plaza, a hub of trendy boutiques and stores. Find the perfect outfit to rock the first day of school with confidence.

2. Legends Outlets: Shop ’til You Drop!

Score amazing deals on everything from shoes to tech gadgets at the Legends Outlets. Fuel up with a delicious meal before diving into your shopping spree.

3. Nifty Stationery Finds:

Unleash your creativity with a visit to Arts & Crafts stores. Discover a variety of stationery wonders to make your school supplies stand out. Brookside Toys and Science is a great place to check out.

4. Local Bookstores for Book Lovers:

Explore the charming local bookstores in Kansas City to find your next literary gem. Barnes and Noble on the Plaza would be a great stop. Also checking out some local libraries close to you!

5. One-Stop Superstores:

If you’re short on time but need to tick off all your shopping items, check out the one-stop superstores that cater to all your back-to-school needs. This includes CVS, Walgreens and your closest Walmart or Target.

6. Extra-Curricular Gear Galore:

Get your hands on specialized gear for your extracurricular activities at stores across Kansas City. Scheels, Dicks Sporting Goods and Academy sports are always a great stop.

7. Make It a Family Affair:

Back-to-school shopping is a great opportunity for some quality family time. Bring everyone along for a day of laughter and bonding.

Get ready for a back-to-school shopping adventure filled with fun and new beginnings. Remember, it’s not just about what you buy but the memories you make along the way. Happy shopping, and may this school year be your best one yet!

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Kansas City Cleanup after the Storm

Kansas City had quite the storm last week. With many areas without power for days the city has added extra services to help people with the cleanup.


According to,

  • The City is offering curbside leaf and brush collection for storm debris starting the week of the 24th by appointment.
  • Residents may begin making appointments on July 17, and need to be made by July 23 through the myKCMO app or by calling calling 311.
  • Leaf & Brush drop off sites are open and free for debris. (For Kansas City, Missouri residents only, I.D. required).
  • Parks & Recreation and Public Works crews are out all day Sunday and throughout the week continuing to clean up debris in public areas.
  • Trash amnesty will be extended for a 10-bag trash limit from July 17 to 21 on the resident’s regular trash service day.

Please help our crews expedite cleanup by following these guidelines:

  • Residents need to cut down any trees and branches before placing on the curb for collection. Please cut large pieces to no more than 4 ft long.
  • Large pieces do not need to be bundled for collection, but bundles are helpful for our crews.
  • If piling debris, please pile parallel to the curb for collection.
  • Piles of debris need to be placed in an accessible location on the curb, the equipment cannot reach debris under low hanging branches or low power lines.
  • Vehicles parked in front of piles of debris restrict access and crews will not be able to collect.
  • Only paper bags can be collected with leaf and brush, plastic bags with debris will not be collected.
  • If you only have a few small branches, please bundle together with twine or jute rope to streamline collection.

Please have debris on the curb by 7:00 a.m. on July 24th after making your appointment.

For more information visit
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Remembering Lee McGraw

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Lee McGraw, who
started Brookside Real Estate Company back in 1986. This also marks the 37 th year that
Brookside Real Estate has served the Brookside community “and beyond” as our byline
advertises. I’ve often been asked if Brookside Real Estate Company was founded by my
father, Jim Kraus, Sr., but that’s not the case. I’m here to tell you the story of how Lee
and I met, the history that Lee and my father shared, and why Lee decided to sell the
company to me in 2005.

I got my real estate license in 2002 while fully employed by a local radio station.
The radio station was my first “real job” but after 15 years I was “burned out” to say the
least. Although I loved it for most of the 15 years, the last few years were not what they
used to be and the fun was gone.

My dad knew I was unhappy and suggested I get my real estate license and give it
a try. I grew up in real estate and, while it provided the means to put 8 children through
private schools, my dad was gone a lot. He spent decades as one of the highest decorated
salesmen for JC Nichols out of The Plaza office. Back then there were no fax machines
and I watched him many times shovel down dinner to go meet with a client to get
signatures, etc. Occasionally he would take a “plate for the road” and then drive to
Topeka or some other place to get those signatures. And, while he did his best to attend
my football, basketball and soccer games, work came before play with 8 mouths to feed.

I told him I would get my license. My dad passed away in 2000, and a year later
nothing had changed in my unhappy radio life. So, I took the course and got my license.
Still in radio, I had to figure out how to manage both jobs and it wasn’t easy. I first had
to find a broker to place my license with and work under. I ran into a former neighbor
(Casey O’Kelley) at a continuing education class and she smiled and asked “Jimmy, are
you going to follow in your father’s footsteps and sell real estate?” I answered, “I have
no idea, but I promised him I’d get my license and try it. Now I need to figure out where
to hang my license, which may not be easy since I’m still fully employed in radio.”
Casey suggested I call Lee McGraw where she and her husband, Pat, worked for years.

So, I called Lee and remembered my father mentioning Lee’s name but really
didn’t know the connection between them at that point. Lee said, “Jim, I’d love to have
you put your license with my brokerage, whether you ever sell a piece of real estate or
not. Just having your name affiliated with the company will make me money, given your
dad’s reputation.” That warmed my heart and I dropped off my license paperwork the
next day.

I met Lee at the office in Brookside and walked into a very “tired” place. Lee was
on the downside of his career, had one listing at the time, and really came into the office
just to get mail, check his emails, and play solitaire on his computer, of which there was
only ONE for the entire office! The fax machine had cobwebs and the place was a mess!
I asked if it would be okay to do some painting, etc, and with his permission I spent
nights freshening up the place, knowing I might actually need to meet someone there at
some point.

As I began my real estate career I had 2 cell phones: one for radio in my right
pocket, and the other for real estate in my left pocket, ALWAYS on vibrate. A week or so
later, Lee left me a message stating he was leaving for Hong Kong for a month, that I was
in charge, and any leads generated by his one listing at 57 th and Oak were mine. Talk
about learning on the fly! I didn’t know how to fill out any of the paperwork at the time
and leaned heavily on my sisters Kim (Curry) and Courtney (Kraus), both realtors, for

I did get calls on his listing, showed the house, and picked up buyers as a result.
In 6 months I had 16 transactions under my belt and eventually quit my “six-figure” job
for a commission career in real estate, all the while managing to support my wife and
four sons. I was off and running as my last day in radio was Valentine’s Day of 2003.
The radio station threw a send-off party at The Brooksider and many had no idea what
my next move would be. When asked at the party, I said “I’m actually going to sell real
estate and my office is right around the corner from here.” How ironic!

A little history . . . my dad was lured away from JC Nichols by Hardin Stockton, a
new up and coming real estate brokerage, to open their first office, also on The Plaza.
That meant he needed to recruit sales persons to fill up the office and one of those was
none other than Lee McGraw. They knew each other from the industry and were friends.
Lee would later tell me he sat near my dad’s office intentionally to listen to him “work
the phones” and picked up many tips that added to Lee’s long successful career in real
estate. Hardin and Stockton was later purchased by Coldwell Banker, another new up
and coming real estate brokerage at the time.

My dad left before Coldwell Banker took over and went onto other adventures, but
stayed in real estate until he retired in the mid-90s. I don’t know what Lee’s path held
other than that he founded Brookside Real Estate Company in 1986, as mentioned.
At our company Christmas party in 2004, which included maybe 4-5 agents back
then, Lee approached me with an idea. He told me he’d been waiting for “someone to
pass the baton to” as he was nearing retirement and he felt I was the man for the job. He
added that my dad was really his mentor and regretted never having told him that before
he passed. That brought tears to my eyes and we scratched out an agreement on a napkin.
We formalized the paperwork over the next few weeks and consummated the sale of the
company and the building shortly afterwards.

Lee continued to dabble in real estate for a few years and then hung it up around
2010. We continued to stay in touch as he literally lived one block north of my house
near 55 th and Brookside Blvd. We would have lunch occasionally, he stopped by the
office now and then, and he always attended our Christmas parties each year. He still
loved to discuss real estate, keeping his finger on the pulse of what was going on in the
market. You might say real estate was in his blood, as it is in my blood, too.
Lee was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, always there to teach me when I
had a question or a “sticky” situation I couldn’t figure out. We became friends after
being colleagues and I miss him dearly, as do many “True Brooksiders.” I know he’s

proud I kept his legacy intact and that Brookside Real Estate Company continues to
thrive today and is still a part of the real estate community.

RIP my friend and MY real estate mentor, Lee McGraw.

-Jim Kraus, Jr.

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All You Need to Know About Kansas City Missouri’s Tax Assessment 2023

Kansas City, Missouri, is a vibrant city known for its rich culture, diverse neighborhoods, and growing economy. As a homeowner or property owner in Kansas City, it’s essential to understand the tax assessment process and how it impacts your property taxes. In this blog post, we’ll delve into Kansas City’s tax assessment for the year 2023 and explore the steps you can take to request a change if you believe your assessment is inaccurate or unfair.

  1. The Importance of Accurate Tax Assessments: A tax assessment determines the value of your property, which in turn affects the amount of property taxes you owe. It’s crucial for the assessment to be accurate, as an incorrect evaluation can lead to overpayment or underpayment of taxes. The funds generated from property taxes play a significant role in funding public services, infrastructure development, and maintaining the quality of life in Kansas City.
  2. The Tax Assessment Process in Kansas City: The tax assessment process in Kansas City is handled by the Jackson County Assessment Department. Each year, the department assesses the value of properties within the city based on various factors, including recent sales data, property characteristics, and market trends. The assessed value serves as the basis for determining property taxes.
  3. Understanding Your Assessment Notice: Property owners in Kansas City receive an assessment notice from the Jackson County Assessment Department each year. This notice details the assessed value of your property and serves as an opportunity to review and potentially challenge the assessment if you believe it is inaccurate.
  4. Reviewing Your Assessment: When you receive your assessment notice, carefully review it to ensure the accuracy of the information. Check for any errors in property details, such as the size, number of rooms, or other relevant features. Additionally, research comparable properties in your area to evaluate whether your assessment aligns with the market value.
  5. Initiating a Review or Appeal: If you believe your assessment is incorrect or unfair, you have the option to request a review or file an appeal. In Kansas City, the process typically involves contacting the Jackson County Assessment Department and providing supporting evidence to substantiate your claim. This evidence may include recent property appraisals, photographs, or documentation of any significant changes or damages to your property.
  6. Working with a Professional: Navigating the tax assessment review process can be complex, and it may be beneficial to seek assistance from a professional, such as a tax consultant or real estate appraiser. These experts can provide valuable insights, help gather supporting evidence, and guide you through the necessary steps to challenge your assessment.
  7. Deadlines and Considerations: It’s important to be aware of the deadlines for initiating a review or filing an appeal. These dates are typically specified on the assessment notice. Ensure that you submit your request within the designated timeframe to avoid missing out on the opportunity to have your assessment reviewed.
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Why Selling Your Home in Kansas City Summer 2023 Makes Sense

The summer of 2023 in Kansas City presents an opportune moment for homeowners considering selling their properties. With a combination of factors aligning in your favor, this blog post will highlight the compelling reasons why summer 2023 is an ideal time to put your home on the market. From a robust housing market to increased demand and favorable selling conditions, selling your home in Kansas City this summer can pave the way for new beginnings and exciting opportunities.

  1. Strong Housing Market: The Kansas City housing market continues to demonstrate strength and resilience. The demand for housing is high, and the supply is relatively balanced. These market conditions favor sellers, allowing for competitive pricing and the potential for multiple offers. By capitalizing on the current market momentum, you increase the likelihood of securing an optimal sale price for your home.
  2. High Buyer Demand: Summer is traditionally a busy season for homebuyers, as families aim to settle into new homes before the start of the school year. The summer of 2023 is no exception, and you can leverage the increased buyer demand to attract motivated purchasers. With more buyers actively searching for homes, you have an enhanced opportunity to receive competitive offers and potentially sell your home more quickly.
  3. Favorable Selling Conditions: Summer offers several advantages when it comes to showcasing your home’s best features. The longer daylight hours and pleasant weather allow for excellent curb appeal, vibrant landscaping, and natural light-filled interiors. Take advantage of this opportunity to create an inviting and visually appealing atmosphere that will resonate with potential buyers. Additionally, with many people planning vacations and enjoying time off work, they have more availability to attend open houses and schedule viewings.
  4. Potential Return on Investment: Kansas City’s real estate market has experienced steady appreciation in recent years. By selling your home in summer 2023, you can potentially capitalize on the accumulated equity and secure a favorable return on your initial investment. The robust demand and increasing home values provide a promising environment for sellers to maximize their financial gains.
  5. Seamless Transition and New Opportunities: Selling your home opens the door to new possibilities and opportunities. Whether you’re downsizing, relocating, or upgrading to a larger property, summer 2023 offers an ideal timeframe to make a smooth transition. Selling your home now allows you to take advantage of the favorable market conditions, secure a sale, and move forward with your future plans.

Summer 2023 presents an advantageous window of opportunity for homeowners considering selling their properties in Kansas City. With a strong housing market, high buyer demand, favorable selling conditions, potential return on investment, and the chance to embark on new opportunities, selling your home this summer can be a strategic and rewarding decision. Capitalize on the market momentum, showcase your home’s best features, and take advantage of the increased buyer activity. Embrace the possibilities and position yourself for a successful and seamless transition to the next chapter of your life.