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Treat A Sick Child To The Healing Power Of Play This Halloween Season

Before the pandemic hit, children undergoing cancer treatments would spend an average of 120 days in the hospital. Because of COVID-19 and the weakened immune systems that come with a cancer diagnosis, these kids are experiencing hospital stays and isolation for much longer than ever before. Because of social distancing guidelines, the traditional Halloween celebration of trick-or-treating is not safe for children fighting life threatening diseases. 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 delivers the healing 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.”

Because of the pandemic and so many restrictions for celebrating Halloween, there are 125 additional children that will need a Bag of Fun. As such, we at Brookside Real Estate are continuing to raise awareness to ensure that every child in Kansas City fighting cancer receives a Bag of Fun this Halloween season. 

Brookside Real Estate has proudly been a local partner of Bags of Fun KC 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, we enjoy the opportunity to help spread the word and we encourage Kansas City to treat a sick child to the healing power of play this Halloween season.” 

If you would like to find out how you can help Bags of Fun KC 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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BRKS Partners with Bags of Fun KC for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is nationally recognized every year in September. Increasing awareness of childhood cancer is extremely important to Brookside Real Estate Company and we’re excited to announce that we are partnering with Bags of Fun KC all month long!

For every house sold during the month of September, Brookside Real Estate will donate $100 to Bags of Fun KC to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of childhood cancer.

Bags of Fun KC delivers the power of play to children fighting cancer and other long term, life threatening illnesses. 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 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.

Director, Louisa Weinrich explained, “2020 has been an interesting year to say the least.  We have had to cancel all of our major fundraisers and try to reinvent ways to connect with our donors.  Our program is needed even more this year with hospital play rooms closed, no toy sharing, and no visitors allowed.  We need donations now more than ever to be able to continue bringing the power of play to children fighting cancer and other life threatening conditions.”

Ready to buy or sell your home and make a difference in the lives of KC children fighting life threatening illnesses? Give Brookside Real Estate Company a call at (816) 333-3330.

To learn more about Bags of Fun KC or to make a direct donation, visit their website here.

 

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3 Tips to Upgrade Your Home Office

While most of us were expecting to be back in the office by Labor Day, a lot of companies have opted to remain remote until at least the end of 2020. Now that most of us are working from home for the long haul, it might be time to give your home office an upgrade. If you’re looking for a place to get your work done with no distractions, or maybe a space that’s a little more video-conference friendly, we’ve put together a few tips to make you as productive as ever – even if you are just steps away from your bedroom. 

  1. Choose the right room. Zoom meetings from the dining room table or the living room couch just won’t cut it anymore!  Whether you’re cleaning out that room you used for storage, converting your spare bedroom, or transforming your unused sun room, make sure this space is designated for work only. This should be a room you walk into and you immediately switch your brain to work-mode. 
  2. Pick up the essentials. Make sure that you stay organized – that could mean a small filing cabinet to hold your paperwork or floating shelves to keep your important documents in order. An extra monitor and laptop stand are also very helpful.
  3. Take breaks. A great thing about working from home is that you are just steps from the outdoors – not just an office parking lot. Even if you live in Downtown Kansas City, the River Market, or the Country Club Plaza, a quick walk or jog around the block will give your productivity the boost you’re needing!

Wishing you hope, health and happiness, Kansas City!

 

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4 Tips For Selling Your House During Covid-19

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 Pandemic has caused the economy to tank, but what a lot of people don’t know is that the value of your home has likely remained intact! With low inventory and highly interested buyers, now is a great time to sell! Brookside Real Estate Company is here to help you make the process of selling your home as smooth and as enjoyable as possible – even during a global pandemic! We’ve put together 4 tips you should know if you are getting ready to list your home in the coming months:

  • Appraisals are Conducted Differently. For the most part, these jobs are essential. But new, temporary rules have been put in place to allow drive by and desktop appraisals. If an in person appraisal is necessary, social distancing guidelines should be implemented and the appraiser should enter the home individually.
  • Open Houses Are Not So Open Anymore. Virtual tours are the safest, but many buyers will want to see the house in person before they make a final decision. As we all navigate a new socially distanced world, you’ll want to make sure your house is ready to show as safely as possible. Everyone currently living in the home should be in good health, keep hand sanitizer and booties at the front door, turn on all light switches and open all doors to limit contact, and don’t forget to disinfect high traffic areas before and after each scheduled, private showing. 
  • The Closing Might Get Creative. The days of everyone gathering around a big table to sign documents are long gone, at least for now. It is likely that new, temporary rules to officially close have been put in place in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. 
  • Most Importantly, Choose an Agent You Can Trust. Be sure your listing agent is willing to go above and beyond to keep the selling process as smooth and as safe as possible. Including virtual (Facebook Live or Facetime) showings, in-person showings when necessary, and screening out those buyers that aren’t serious. 

If you’re considering selling your home in the next few months, contact a neighborhood expert you can trust: One of the real estate pros at Brookside Real Estate Company! Call today at (816) 333-3330.

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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!