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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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Brookside’s Amazing Container Home!

Brookside Container House

When was the last time you really thought “outside the box” when it came to home design? Well that’s exactly what Debbie Glassberg did when she designed her dream home – and her outside the box thinking brought her inside the box! If you’ve never heard of shipping container houses, then toss out any preconceived ideas you may have and hold on tight. Not only are shipping container homes all the rage right now, this particular container home is truly a piece of art.

Debbie Glassberg, a professional toy designer for Disney, found that when a shipping container serves as the building block for a home the possibilities are endless. Debbie teamed up with Kansas City’s BNIM Architecture to design her amazing dream home. Part of that dream was to design a home that leaves less of a footprint – a not so easy task for a 2600 square foot home. Debbie and BNIM met that goal with an endless list of eco-friendly details, including an HVAC system that is geothermal (it uses the earth to actually help heat and cool the home!); energy efficient electric appliances, all LED lighting, thermal windows, low flow toilets – and the list goes on!

The home was thoughtfully built with each individual piece having specific intent and purpose. Most storage areas are built right in to the home –from bookshelves and dressers, to hidden storage cabinets, no space is wasted. And the sustainability concept carries beyond the

walls of the house, in fact, even the landscaping is edible. With fruit trees, herbs and veggies, it’s only a short walk outside to pick your next meal! The roof space is not wasted either, boasting rooftop gardens and patios. This efficient little ecosystem even supports a beehive – high above the front yard!

Thought to be Kansas City’s first ever container house, this amazing beauty of a home is no bland container. With striking curb appeal and no-detail-is-too-small interior touches, this one of a kind original is located in the heart Brookside – of one of Kansas City’s most desirable neighborhoods!

While Brookside offers a wide variety of home styles, this masterpiece of design-meets-function certainly is one of the most unique.  In 2015, labeled the house as “Maybe the Country’s Prettiest Shipping Container Home.”

Enjoy the photos below, and if you fall in love with the home as much as we did (or maybe you’d like to see what a kiwi plant in an edible yard looks like!), stop by Brookside Real Estate’s offices on 9 W 63rd St., and for more detailed home information, visit the home’s listing page here.

*Photos Courtesy of bnim

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First Time Buyers Enjoy Home Buyer Happy Hour on the Patio!

If you weren’t able to make it to Brookside Real Estate’s recent Home Buyer Happy Hour on the Patio we can only say one thing: You missed out! It was a great evening filled with food, fun and a great discussion on renting vs. buying a home! The short presentations from our expert panel were quite informative and our inquisitive group of attendees came prepared with many questions for our seasoned home buying experts to casually field over cocktails and appetizers.

Mortgage expert Mike O’Neill gave the first presentation and talked about what a renter needs to think about as he or she looks to buy a house. Mike made it clear that there were many personal and professional considerations that should be taken into account as a potential homebuyer looks toward making one of the biggest decisions of their life!

One of his key recommendations was to speak to a lender sooner rather than later. He noted there are often some financial wrinkles that need a little ironing out before jumping headfirst into the buyer pool. Mike also advised that speaking to a lender will give you a better idea of the timeline that you have to work with and the amount of home you can afford – very helpful advice as you decide if buying or renting is the best decision for you.

Brookside Real Estate’s own Courtney Kraus spoke next and walked through the basic steps and timeline of the home buying process itself. She kept it fun and upbeat with stories from past buying and selling experiences that had the whole patio laughing as they also learned what things to do and not do. Courtney also explained the importance of having an experienced Real Estate Agent. Not only can you save a great deal financially – and emotionally – but for a home buyer, having a Real Estate Agent is generally FREE! If you didn’t know that before, you do now!

As one guest commented, “I had no idea that learning about such a scary topic could be so fun! It gave me a lot to think about and now I know who to ask when I have more questions!”

If you missed the June Home Buyer Happy Hour, don’t worry, we are planning another session soon. Stay tuned for details – and take a look at the photos below from the event!

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Should I Rent or Should I Buy?!

To rent or to buy, that is the question! For the would-be first-time home-buyer there’s no easy answer. Especially in a “hot” housing market, it can seem quite overwhelming to even consider the idea of buying a house. There are dozens of online articles that come to different conclusions about the rent vs. buy decision. But how do you determine what’s right for you?

That’s why Brookside Real Estate started hosting our First Time Home Buyer Happy Hours earlier this spring – so you can have all the information you need to make the decision that is right for you, all presented in a casual low-key environment – aka: Happy Hour!

Our first Home Buyer Happy Hour was a rousing success. And, we created the upcoming Happy Hour based on the most common question we heard from would-be buyers at our first Happy Hour. The question was simple yet complex: “Should I rent, or should I buy?”  The variables that weigh into making this very personal decision are many.

Becoming a homeowner has long been a cornerstone of the American Dream: “Invest in a home, don’t throw money into a rental” is something that most young people hear.  And generally, that advice makes sense – but there are many considerations that play into whether the decision to buy is the right one for you right now.

Here are a few questions to consider: Are you planning to stay in the area for a while? Or will your job or family relocate in the not-to-distant future? What are the general trends of the neighborhood where you are looking to live? Is there a school system nearby that you would want your kids to be enrolled in? Are you generally handy with fixing mechanical things around the house? Do you want to rent to avoid the maintenance that goes along with owning a home? How important is it to invest in a large asset that you will own someday? Do you want to save money on your taxes?

There is much to consider! So if you want to become more educated in the “rent vs. buy” decision, we have just the event for you! We’ve assembled several speakers with years of experience in the financial, mortgage and Real Estate arenas to speak to these issues and answer your questions – all in a low-key fun and relaxed environment. (Did we mention this is a Happy Hour?!)

Even if you are far from being ready to buy your own home you can still stop by to meet other area young professionals that are in similar stages of their lives. Join us for an hour or two (on what looks to be a beautiful summer evening), complete with complimentary food and drinks, right here on our cozy (and well-shaded!) patio in the heart of Brookside!


Tuesday, June 27, from 5:30-6:45 at 9 W 63rd Street, in Brookside (just across the street from Charlie Hoopers)! RSVP to or stop on by ­– everyone is welcome! Want a few more details? Drop us a line at (816) 333-3330 and we’ll fill you in! See you on Tuesday!

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3 More Reasons to Love Brookside

The number of reasons that we love Brookside are too numerous to actually count, but here are 3 more reasons why we love Brookside and why you will too! Put simply: The Shops. Today we highlight 3 neighborhood favorites that you really should stop by to a visit!

  1. The brand new Red Door Grill – The first Red Door started across the state line and was a Brookside Real Estate Red Door Grillculinary hit from the start, so we were super excited to welcome Red Door Grill’s second location here to the heart of Brookside! Locally owned and operated, Red Door Grill is committed to community and they show that by the locally sourced ingredients they prepare their delicious meals with and the local providers they partner with. Red Door offers a great environment for most any occasion and considers themselves “an upscale neighborhood joint.” Definitely another reason to love Brookside!
  1. Here in Brookside good food isn’t only available for humans. Brookside Barkery and Bath boasts Kansas City’s largest selection of all-natural pet foods and products for dogs and cats of the family. They are passionate about “better health through better nutrition” and care for each pet’s individual needs. Your pet will love the service from the Barkery’s friendly and knowledgable staff. Want to really pamper your pet? Check out their wonderful Pet Spa! Do what’s best for your best friend, stop by for a visit on your next walk through Brooksde and pick up some tasty treats – your pet is sure to fall in love with Brookside too!
  1. All of Brookside’s shops are pretty darn charming, but one of the mostunique is The (New) Dime Store. A throwback in time, this dime storebrings back the wonder and nostalgia of an old-fashioned variety store that truly has it all! Various iterations of the Dime Store have been an Brookside Real Estate The Dime Storeessential and beloved part of the Brookside community since 1941 – and The (New) Dime is no exception – a store where you can still find just about anything you need just when you need it most. Stop in for something you need – and fall in love with something else you just can’t do without! Always worth making a special stop,come take a peek into a charming part of the past and we guarantee you’ll find an essential part of your future trips to the Brookside shops for many years to come! 

The Brookside neighborhood is a little bit of old, a little bit of new, and a whole lot of charm. Stop in and visit the iconic Brookside Shops, have a drink on a patio, chat with neighbors and stroll down the wide, tree-lined sidewalks. And while you’re at it, stop by 9 West 63rd Street – the home of Brookside Real Estate to find out how you can make this special neighborhood your home neighborhood.

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First-Time Home-Buyer Patio Party, a Smashing Success!

Our first-time buyer party on the patio took place on a lovely evening filled with food, wine, conversation, and helpful first-time home-buyer information.

The Happy Hour featured three experts with topics specifically geared towards first-time home-buyers. The first guest up, Mitchell Smith from Buttonwood Financial, opened with insights into managing cash flow and discussed how being a home-owner affects overall financial health. Who wouldn’t want to save thousands in taxes?!

Next our own Nicole Lonergan talked about the importance of having an experienced Real Estate Agent specifically when operating in a fast-selling market with limited inventory like we are experiencing now!

Mortgage expert, Mike O’Neill finished up the official part of the presentation by building on Nicole’s comments about a tight market and explaining how prequalifying for a loan can make the difference between getting the home of your dreams and having to start searching again from scratch. After the official presentations there was time planned to mingle, ask questions, and talk to others in varying stages of the home-buying process.

As one guest commented afterward, “This was the perfect opportunity and environment to ask the questions I was embarrassed to ask otherwise. It gave me a place to start, and pointed me in the right direction.” The party was such a hit that we are going to continue the first-time home-buyer sessions with another one in June!  More details to come-stay tuned!

Take a look at the photos below from the event:

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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!

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To Market to Market – Brookside Farmers’ Market!

It finally feels like spring and Mother Nature’s harvest agrees! We don’t know what your plans are Saturday morning but we couldn’t be more excited for the opening of this season’s Brookside Farmers’ Market this Saturday, April 15th at 8:00 AM!

The Brookside Farmers’ Market has been a neighborhood tradition for 14 years now. Recognized as one of Kansas City’s largest organic and non-GMO farmers’ markets, this weekly happening always draws quite the crowd! Each of the many market vendors are from around the local area. (They must be and all use sustainable and/or cruelty-free practices.) You can’t get much closer to the source as the products and produce are sold exclusively by the local growers themselves with no resale – now that’s local!

Located on the southeast corner of 63rd and Wornall, many Brookside neighbors often walk the short distance to the Farmers Market – although the Market continues to draw fellow shoppers from throughout the city!Brookside Real Estate Brookside Farmers' Market

While the selection varies slightly from week to week you can expect to find:

  • Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Herbs
  • Organic eggs and meats
  • Fresh flowers
  • Fresh bread and baked goods
  • Organic juices

Vendor’s like our fellow 63rd Street friends at Heirloom Bakery and Hearth and Simple Science Juices draw quite a crowd for their organic juices and fresh baked goods. If you haven’t tried one of Heirloom’s homemade pop-tarts you’re missing out! No matter what your personal taste is the Brookside Farmers’ Market has something for everyone.

Every Saturday morning, rain or shine, from 8:00AM to 1:00PM (starting Saturday, April 15 and continuing through late November), come on out, meet up with your friends, get to know your neighbors, and fill your pantry with some of the finest and freshest baked good and produce in the area!

Neighborhood events like the Brookside Farmers’ Market are just one of the many reasons that the Brookside area has become such a desirable place to live. Imagine yourself walking down wide tree-lined sidewalks with the morning sunlight filtering through the spring blossoms on the trees, waving to your dog-walking neighbors and stopping by the Farmers’ Market to pick up your fresh produce for the week!

Like the idea? Give your friends at Brookside Real Estate a call at (816) 333-3330 – or just stop on by and see us at our street-front office at 9 West 63rd Street – to discuss how you can make this great neighborhood your home!

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5 Tips for Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal This Spring

Pick as many of these DIY improvements as you feel you can tackle, and your home will be well on its way to shining before you can say “play ball!” this spring season!

Whether you are looking to enhance your home’s curb appeal in preparation to sell, or just because “Spring Fever” has you in the mood to make some eye-catching changes, these 5 easy tips will have you racing with excitement to the nearest home improvement store!

  • Tip #1- One of the most fun and dramatically eye-catching improvements you can make is to change up the look of your front door! The front door of the house is the focal point of the home. A brightly painted door can add that extra touch of fun, and a seasonal wreath adds personality.
  • Tip #2– Your front porch should be an extension of your personal decorating style and the look and feel of Brookside Real Estate Front Porch Decorationthe inside of your home. Add a couple of pots of seasonal flowers, or spruce it up with some new house numbers that match the style of your home. Remember house numbers should be large and visible from the street. Consider adding light fixtures to illuminate them in the evenings.
  • Tip #3- Take another look at your lawn. Are there some sparse patches where it looks like the grass may not come in fully this year? Early spring is the ideal time to start grass seed or sod. And of course make sure to get rid of weeds. A well-manicured lawn speaks volumes about the care of your overall property. Adding mulch to your flower beds will also give your yard that well-groomed “finished” look and is relatively inexpensive.
  • Tip #4- Clean your windows and siding. This is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to quickly make a huge difference in the appearance of your house! Make your windows sparkle by cleaning them inside and power washing them from the outside with a window attachment. Refresh your home’s siding with a power washer to remove any winter grime and then take to the ground to show off the true colors of your flagstone or concrete walks, landing and porches. If you don’t have a power washer you can usually rent one from your nearest home improvement store
  • Tip #5- Check the condition of your garage and driveway. Again use the power washer to give your garage and drive way a quick once-over. The results might surprise you – you’ll be glad you did! Eliminate any weeds or grass growing in your driveway or walk, and you will be well on your way to leaving a great first impression of your home for visitors – and you personally will enjoy pulling back up to your home all the more this spring!

First impressions matter, and if you are wise about where you invest, a little can go a long way! Sprucing up your home this spring with a few of these striking improvements doesn’t need to break the bank. Most require a little bit of time but are not especially costly. Take your time upfront and preplan your curb appeal makeover. That way trips to the garden center or home improvements store can be optimized. Break up projects into smaller tasks of 2-3 hours and check them off one by one. Over the course of a couple of weekends you’ll be amazed at the progress you’ve made.

If you are looking to sell and would like some professional assistance, contact the team at Brookside Real Estate! We have over 30 years of experience in Kansas City and are experts in Brookside and the surrounding neighborhoods. Give us a call at: (816) 333-3330, or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd any time to chat. We’d love to see you – we care because we live here too!

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435 Magazine Names Brookside One of the “Best Places to Live”

Brookside Real Estate Top Ten Best Zip Codes

Following hot on the heels of the national news media and Real Estate publisher Motovo’s accolades of  Brookside as one of the “Top 10 Best Zip Codes in America, ” the March issue of 435 Magazine is not to be outdone naming Brookside, “One of the Best Places to Live Right Now.”

“We couldn’t agree more,” said Brookside Real Estate broker, Jim Kraus, “I’ve been in the Real Estate business here in Brookside for over 20 years now, and the community continues to astonish everyone with its consistently appreciating home values. I’m not surprised anymore. Everyone wants to live in Brookside. What’s not to love?”

435 Magazine points out, “Not all the great homes are in distant suburbs…In the last few years, these areas have just taken off. Demand is up, but supply is limited.”

More from 435 Magazine:

  • Brookside Real Estate Best Places to Live KC“The Brookside community is the perfect spot for those seeking an older home near some of the best local spots Kansas City
    has to offer. This vibrant community is ten minutes from the Plaza and only a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Kansas City. Everyone wants to live in a small community with slow streets and large lots, and even though some of the homes in Brookside might run a bit pricier, they are the ideal location for those with above-average incomes looking for a neighborhood with character.”
  • “The Kansas City housing market is strong and stable, and in many ways the envy of the housing pundits on both coasts.”
  • The article quotes that the average number of days a home is on the market in Kansas City is about 15 days and expects that number is going to dwindle as Spring Market gets into full swing and the busy summer months hit. Some houses listed in Brookside are even sold within 24 hours.

Spring Market buying and selling can be daunting and feel rushed, but don’t let this discourage you. With over 30 years of professional experience, the agents at Brookside Real Estate have all the tools needed to navigate you through Spring Market madness! If you’re looking for a new place to call home, give us a call at (816) 333-3330, or stop by the Brookside Real Estate office located at 9 W  63rd Street and check out one of Kansas City’s, “Best places to live right now.”