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Brookside Featured on The Cover of 435 Magazine Best Neighborhoods 2019

Have you seen the March edition of 435 Magazine? If so, you may have noticed our charming Brookside neighborhood featured on the cover of this Best Neighborhoods 2019 edition! Listed one of five best Kansas City neighborhoods for the “forever home” buyer, this comes as no surprise to all of us here at Brookside Real Estate Company.

In the 435 Magazine Best Neighborhoods 2019 feature written by Sherry Kuehl, she states, “The move-up or ‘forever home’ buyer is seeking more – as in more square footage, a more prestigious address and more amenities and perks.”

Kuehl goes on to describe Brookside as a, “Charming neighborhood featuring tree-lined streets and homes that date back more than 100 years with varied architectural character – from bungalows to Tudors.” She continued, “The close proximity to the Plaza and downtown with restaurants and shops just a stroll away help make Brookside a sought-after neighborhood.”

“We couldn’t agree more,” said Brookside Real Estate owner and 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 consistent appreciation of home values,” he continued, “Everyone wants to live in Brookside. What’s not to love?”

The year of the “balanced” market, 2019 is shaping up to be a good year for both sellers and buyers. With over 30 years of combined professional experience, the agents at Brookside Real Estate have all the tools needed to help navigate you through the madness of Spring Market!

Now is the time to join our community and see for yourself why Brookside is continually listed as one of Kansas City’s Best Neighborhoods! Give us a call at (816) 333-3330 or stop by our storefront office located at 9 W 63rd St in the heart of Brookside – when the flag is up, we’re open.

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10 Tips to Get Your House Ready to Sell This Spring

Getting ready to sell your house this spring?

It’s time to get to work! Putting your house on the market entails a lot more than just propping up a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn. Before you put your house on the market, take a look at Brookside Real Estate’s 10 tips to get your house ready to sell for top dollar!

1. Focus on Curb Appeal: First impressions are everything. Regardless of how much effort you put into the interior of your home, the exterior is the first thing potential buyers see. Give your house a good power wash and fix the little things – touch up your paint and replace rotting trim. And don’t forget about your lawn! Keep your grass mowed and put down some fresh mulch – you never know who may be driving by.

2. Declutter Living Areas: When it comes to getting your house ready to show, less is more – you’re trying to sell your house, not your stuff! Start off with a clean sweep of counters, tables, windowsills and all other visible areas. Then, move on to hidden items in drawers, closets and cabinets. Next, take a look at the furniture around your home and ask yourself if each piece is adding to the overall ambiance. If not, get rid of it or move it to the basement for the time-being! Everything in your home is coming out anyway, so consider it pre-moving.

A featured home by Brookside Real Estate3. Depersonalize Your Space: Now that you’ve decluttered, it’s time to depersonalize your space. When potential buyers come into your house, they want to be able to picture themselves living in the home. This step includes removing personal items, family photos and any other bold artwork/furniture that could make your house seem too lived in. The goal is to create a blank canvas, so home buyers can project their own visions of living there.

4. Paint Walls to Neutral Tones: Freshly painted rooms make everything look fresh and clean! Stick to neutral colors – you may prefer bright and bold colors, but that doesn’t go for everyone. Light and neutral colors also allow buyers to envision what the walls will look like with the color of their choice. Keep in mind, your prospective buyers are mentally noting all of the jobs they will need to take care of once moving in.

5. Touch Up Scuff Marks and Loose Handles: Even if you’re not doing a full-on repainting project, pay close attention to scrubbing and touching up doors, walls and baseboards to make your house look especially cared-for. Fix any loose handles and replace missing lightbulbs. The small details matter. You don’t want the buyer to stop and wonder what else is broken in the home.

6. Add Greenery: Another small detail that goes a long way- green is good! Plants create a warm, welcoming environment. Add a touch of greenery to each room to keep a consistent welcoming environment throughout the entire home. Consider adding a bouquet of flowers to the dining table and a bowl of fresh, colorful fruit in the kitchen.

A newly remodeled home of Brookside Real Estate7. Deep Clean: Clean, clean, clean and then clean some more! You want your house to be spotless. Give the bathrooms special attention – making sure everything sparkles. Complete your initial deep cleaning and continue to maintain the cleanliness each day. This way you won’t feel panicked when a call for a showing comes through.

8. Complete a Smell Test: Now that you’ve deep cleaned the house, have an unbiased third party in to detect any lingering odors. Even the slightest foul odors can be a deal breaker, and the biggest problem is you may not even notice them. Many buyers are on to “masking techniques” including plug-in deodorizers and candles, so it’s important confirm all odors are eliminated prior to adding pleasant scents.

9. Complete Research on Staging: If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance your furniture has been arranged the same way for a decade. Although this can be fine in some cases, there may be a better way to stage your house you haven’t thought of. Do a quick search on home staging – you’ll find free advice and information to get your home ready to sell. Making rooms look larger is key!

10. Find a Great Real Estate Agent: Unfortunately, integrity can be a bit lacking when it comes to the real estate business. At Brookside Real Estate, integrity is a way of life! This is an earned and prized professional trademark for our team of Realtors – and an implied promise that we go above and beyond the ordinary to enhance your experience using our experience – from day one, to closing. Click here to learn more about our team of agents!

Now that your home is market ready, leave it to the experts at Brookside Real Estate in Kansas City to take it from here! Give us a call at (816) 333-3330 or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd Street – when the flag is up, we’re open!

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Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking to sell your home in 2019? The experts at Brookside Real Estate are here to help! Give us a call at (816) 333-3330 or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd St – when the flag is up, we’re open!

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Spotlight: Jim Kraus

Who is Brookside Real Estate Broker and Realtor Jim Kraus? Many often assume he is the founder of Brookside Real Estate Company, but that’s not the case. In fact, Jim’s original career was in Advertising where he spent 20 years in various marketing/advertising positions – including with the Kansas City Royals as a marketing intern, then a gig selling commercial specialty printing and later in sales management at local radio stations, KMBZ, KCMO and 101 The Fox, to name a few.

After two decades in marketing, printing and broadcast, Jim decided to make a change. He realized the career satisfaction he longed for was not in marketing sales. That’s when Jim decided to take a leap of faith, follow in his father’s career footsteps and pursue a career in residential Real Estate.

Jim received his license to practice in 2003 and decided to hang his license with a local agency called Brookside Real Estate – founded and at the time owned by an old acquaintance of his father named Lee McGraw. Jim apparently was just the kind of guy Lee wanted to carry on the company he created.

Ironically, Jim found out that his very own father was the real estate professional that Lee considered to be his own mentor. Two short years and a fair amount of challenging yet rewarding work later, Jim would become the new owner of Brookside Real Estate Company!

“I love Brookside so much that is was natural for me to buy the company,” Jim said. “It’s where I’ve lived my entire life!” Jim refers to Brookside as his, “stomping ground,” recalling times when he would sled down suicide hill and trick-or-treat through the neighborhood as a child.

Jim continued, “I’ve sold houses that I mowed lawns for as a teenager. I’ve sold houses where I cut through their yard as a shortcut to play football with a buddy. I’ve sold houses where I played basketball in their driveway growing up. For me, Brookside is, and always has been, my home.”

To Jim the real estate business is not about being #1 in a zip code or even having the most sales, it’s about putting people in homes they love. According to Jim, “I see these people at the Brookside Market, at the Barkery, at sporting events or even just walking out of Jimmy Johns. I like seeing them and knowing not only am I their agent, I’m their neighbor.”

According to Jim’s fellow realtors at Brookside Real Estate, one thing that sets Jim apart from other realtors is how he goes above and beyond for every showing – turning on lights, setting the thermostat, making beds (and, well, even picking up dog do-do!).

“I don’t care if it’s a $100,000 house or a $1,000,000 house, I provide the same service,” Jim said. Buyer or seller, Jim wants all parties involved to have the best real estate experience – and deal – possible. Importantly, Jim says he really cares about finding the just perfect home for his neighbors to continue to grow their lives and their families.

Although 15 years ago making a complete career change and leaving a six-figure job was a pretty big risk, Jim says he could not be more satisfied with the positive effect that change has had on his life. Jim says there’s no question, being a realtor truly is in his blood, noting, “It’s the thrill of seeing people walk through that door for the first time after closing – and seeing the kids take off running through the house. Those moments – watching a house magically transforming into a home – there’s nothing better than that.”

So, next time you see Jim Kraus at the grocery store, or The Roasterie, or his favorite neighborhood hangout – Charlie Hooper’s – be sure to stop and say, “Hi!” There’s nothing he enjoys more than catching up with his neighbors, former classmates, clients, and friends. For Jim, they’re all often one and the same.

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Tips to Take on Spring Storm Season

April showers bring May flowers! Though spring is much welcomed after the lengthy KC winter months, it comes with the possibility of severe weather with potential property damage resulting in financial loss for residents. Flooding, high winds and lightning are the most common weather-related causes of damage in the Kansas City Metro area.

Your friends here at Brookside Real Estate Company have seen more than a little weather damage throughout our years in the neighborhood and want to share a little precautionary advice that may help protect you and your home this spring season:

Flooding:

  • Ensure any leaks on your roof are repaired to prevent water from leaking into your home.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working correctly.
  • Clean your gutters and remove any objects that could block water from flowing through down spouts and away from your home.
  • If water does accumulate in your home, be sure to pull-up any wet carpet immediately to prevent mold growth.

High Winds:

  • Inspect your roof for loose shingles – or tiles – prior to storm season. Repair or replace if necessary.
  • Secure – or store – any outdoor items that may easily be swept up by gusts of wind (ex. patio furniture, cushions and outdoor umbrellas).
  • Keep windows shut to prevent high wind or hail damage.
  • Identify a designated safe space in your home for you and your family in case of tornadoes.

Lightning:

  • Disconnect computers and their cables from power sources when travelling or away from home (for example, while on vacation).
  • Keep non-essential electronics unplugged when not using them.
  • Avoid using computers and other electronics during thunderstorms.
  • Avoid showering during thunderstorms as lightning can travel through plumbing systems.

There you have it – some helpful tips for protecting your home and loved ones during spring storm season! If property damage does occur, be certain to contact your insurance provider and take pictures of any damage. Consult the National Weather Service website to monitor weather conditions in your area.

Looking to buy or sell a home this spring? The real estate professionals at Brookside Real Estate Company are always here to help! With over 30 years of experience in Kansas City and significant expertise in Brookside and other surrounding Kansas City neighborhoods, no one is better qualified to assist with your home buying or selling needs. Give us a call at: (816) 333-3330, or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd any time to chat – about the weather, real estate or anything else that’s on your mind!