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What New Zero Interest Rates Mean for Your Mortgages

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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I’ve Got a Guy Episode 2: Maintaining Your Roof with 435 Roofing

In the latest episode of “I’ve Got a Guy” with Ellen Z., we talk all things roofing – and how to keep your roof properly maintained here in the Brookside area.

One of the most important things to evaluate when buying or selling a home is the status of the roof. How old is it? What shape is it in? How many layers of shingles exist? In this episode, Ellen talks with her roofing go-to guy, Lloyd Lantz from 435 Roofing, who is an expert when it comes to roofs, and he has all the answers. Check out the video below, plus Lloyd’s top tips on what to look for when it’s roof evaluation time.

Lloyd’s Top Roofing Tips

  1. Roof Maintenance is Key The most important thing you can do is to have your roof inspected every 3-5 years, dependent upon the type of roof you have (3 for composite, 5 for tile, for example).
  2. Hire a Reputable Roofing Company Find a reputable roofing company via word of mouth or online search. Read the reviews and be certain they are insured before you hire any company. And of course, contact the 435 Roofing team anytime for an inspection.
  3. Be Thorough During your inspection, your inspector should check all flashings, gutters and penetrations (like chimneys) AND take pictures to show you what they found. Otherwise, you could be getting false information without evidence of a problem.
  4. Roofs are Repairable “Roofs are always repairable.” The repairs can make a big difference, although sometimes they are not permanent.
  5. Keep Your Gutters Clean If you want to avoid extra roof and house repair, you have to keep your gutters and gutter extensions free of leaves and debris. Otherwise you will be dealing with wood rot, a rotted roof deck and potential foundation problems.
  6. Tile Roofs The great thing about tile roofs is they are a lifetime product. However, the underlayment is what needs to be checked. Underlayment is a water-resistant or waterproof barrier material that lies directly onto your roof deck.

Lloyd’s Storm Tips

With Kansas City spring weather comes torrential rains, winds and of course, hail. What you need to know:

  1. Hail damage can be minor or major. Insurance companies base their claims on the number of hail hits to a 10′ x 10′ square of the roof.
  2. Check your insurance policy to determine if you have a “recovered value” policy, it covers the cost to replace the roof, whereas an “actual cash value” (ACV) policy, which equals the worth of the roof today. Most composite roofs have a 30-50 year maintenance warranty on the shingles, not the roof itself. Interesting fact: insurance companies do not change your rate based on how long your shingles are warrantied.
  3. If you do need to have your roof replaced, ask your contractor how they will dispose of the old roofing materials. The ideal method is to drop the shingles directly into a dumpster. If your contractor is letting shingles, boards and nails fly, it can be dangerous to your home and family. 435 Roofing uses magnet rolls to collect stray nails for the homeowners safety.

Ready to get started on selling your home with Ellen? Contact her today! Ready for a roof inspection, contact Lloyd at 435 Roofing.  or call him directly at 913-787-1269. Mention you saw this video and you know Ellen!

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Brookside – Full of Subdivisions Rich in History

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

Crestwood

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

Countryside

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

Morningside

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

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

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Brookside: A Neighborhood Full of Historic Homes

A special community rich in history and neighborhood charm, Brookside is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Kansas City. Full of well-built single-family homes, each house in Brookside is unique from the other. Ranging in style from smaller American Tudors and Craftsman Bungalows to larger Colonial Revivals and American Georgian styles, the Brookside gurus at Brookside Real Estate are here to tell you the history behind the houses that make Brookside one-of-a-kind.

American Tudor

Influenced by timber-framed cottages built during the reign of the Tudor dynasty in England, European architects brought the Tudor style to America toward the end of the nineteenth century. Built with a combination of late Medieval and early Renaissance styles, American Tudors are characterized by their steeply pitched gable roofs, elaborate stone and brickwork, and exposed wood framework.

Craftsman Bungalow

Dating back to the 18th century, the term “bungalow” derived from the word “bangla” comes from the Indian province of Bengal. Built low to the ground with large porches sheltered by wide overhanging eaves, bangla houses were originally built as one-story rest houses for travelling British colonial authorities. Fast forward to the early 1900s in the United States, the simple, folksy design of bungalows suited the arts and crafts movement perfectly, as they could be built without an excess of materials or effort. Meeting the needs of young first-time home buyers, the popularity of Craftsman Bungalows took off with relatively few built after 1930.

Colonial Revival

One of the most popular residential architectural styles in United States history, the Colonial Revival movement origins back to the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, giving many Americans inspiration to look back at the colonial period. These timeless, substantial homes declare the owners have a solid foundation and traditional values. Typically two stories, Colonial Revivals are characterized by their rectangular mass with symmetrical windows and elaborate front doors accented with columns or pilasters.

American Georgian

Another one of America’s most consistently popular styles, the Georgian style utilizes many of the trademarks of Renaissance design. The term “Georgian” refers the design aesthetic developed during the reigns of Kings George I through George III. The sophisticated style was inspired by the traditions of Rome, Greece and the designs of Italian Renaissance architects. Similar to the Colonial Revival, the classic American Georgian house is rectangular or square in shape, made of brick or stone, featuring symmetrical shuttered windows and columns.

Regardless of which unique style you choose, one thing is for certain – in Brookside, your house will quickly become your home. With tree-lined streets featuring large sidewalks and local shops within walking distance, Brookside is truly the definition of a community.

Looking to own one of Brookside’s historic homes and become a member of this one-of-a-kind neighborhood? Give the home pros at Brookside Real Estate Company 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 Voted KC’s Best Neighborhood!

The people have spoken: The Pitch “Best of Kansas City” winner for Best Neighborhood is none other than (drum roll please): Brookside! It’s true, Brookside Real Estate’s namesake neighborhood edged out noteworthy neighborhood finalists including Hyde Park, Union Hill, Waldo and Westport in The Pitch’s annual competition to find KC’s best. Of course, the team at Brookside Real Estate recognized this quite some time ago – and now we’re here to share our top 5 reasons why Brookside is truly Kansas City’s very best neighborhood!

1. A Great Place to Walk: When you live in Brookside you’re just a hop, skip, jump or short walk away from anything and everything you want or need! Get some fresh air while you grab a cup of coffee at The Roasterie, take your furry friend on a walk to The Barkery for a treat, stop in the Brookside Market for some gourmet groceries, or meet your friends at Brookside Barrio for the happiest of happy hours. Brookside residents know there’s no need to drive – they just slip on their walking shoes and make the quick trip to “downtown” Brookside!

2. Brookside is Local: Another favorite aspect of Brookside is all the locally owned shops and businesses. Living Local is a wonderful attribute that sets Brookside apart from most other KC neighborhoods. In fact, just about any time you set foot into a shop along the Brookside shopping promenade, you’re bound to be greeted by a smiling and familiar face! Home to over 70 unique shops, restaurants, boutiques and small businesses, you can’t help but support local business, local families, local products and/or local makers any time you shop in Brookside.

3. Community: Contrary to most neighborhoods today, Brookside is truly the definition of a tight-knit community. That community-connectedness is especially on display during events like Brookside’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Brookside Art Annual. Newer events like Trick or Treat Street, Sip & Shop and Brookside’s Holiday Season Opener give newbies a chance to get to know the community. Many of the residential streets of the neighborhood throw summer or fall block parties – closing streets for daytime games and lasting into the night with music, food and fun activities for both young and old. It’s just what you’d expect from this family-friendly neighborhood that has a little bit of something for everyone!

4. Unique Architecture: Full of well-built single-family homes, each house in Brookside is unique and almost all have a rich history. Ranging in style from smaller American Tudors and Craftsmen Bungalows to larger Colonial revivals and American Georgian styles, no two houses are the same in Brookside. Interested in taking a peek inside a Brookside home or two? We know just who to call!

5. Increasing Property Values: Home values in Brookside have increased 9.5% over the past year and are predicted to rise another 3.5% within the coming year! When you choose to buy a home in Brookside not only do you get to enjoy this special community on an everyday basis – you’re also making a smart financial decision.

Are you looking to become a part of Kansas City’s Best Neighborhood? Give the home pros at Brookside Real Estate Company 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. We can’t wait to share even more reasons why Brookside is KC’s Best Neighborhood!

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The History of Brookside’s Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail

If you are familiar with the Brookside area, chances are you have seen, or even taken a jog on, the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. The 6-mile-long Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail is one of Kansas City’s most popular trails for walkers, runners and cyclists. Some of you may be wondering: Where did this trail come from? Has it always just been a walking trail? Who is Harry Wiggins? We’ve done some digging and are here to fill you in on the history of the Trolley Track Trail.

Named after the departed Missouri state senator who helped secure funding for the trail, the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail was originally the site of Kansas City’s last streetcar line, the Country Club Line, prior to today’s RideKC Streetcar. The Country Club Line was the golden opportunity for transportation to the Brookside Shops, outlasting the struggling streetcar system throughout the rest of the city.

Country Club Line (#56) at the Brookside Station, circa 1950 Courtesy of Wilborn & Associate

The trip from downtown Kansas City to Brookside and back was a great adventure on the Country Club Line. One could, “travel from the tranquility of tree-lined streets to the exotic views of the Plaza, then north on Main buzzing along with the traffic as the car slipped past apartment buildings and warehouses and then finally to the glittering canyons of downtown, filled with the allure of the department store windows,” LaDene Morton stated in The Brookside Story: Shops of Every Necessary Character. Regardless of the trip, the gateway to all adventures was the transit stop at 54th Street and Brookside Boulevard – where the restored station remains to this day.

Though the last run for the Country Club Line was in 1957, the tracks remained intact long after. “To the neighborhood, they were a nostalgic reminder of the days gone by. To others, they marked a critical easement, a valuable piece of property with potential for many purposes,” Morton stated. Over the years, there were repeated attempts to reclaim the full right-of-way for a variety of purposes, at one point even including talks of a freeway. Those plans were clearly never executed, but in the 1990s, the easement was converted to a bike and pedestrian trail, still known today as the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail.

Is there potential for the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail to be converted back into a streetcar line? A recent vote to extend the RideKC Streetcar from the River Market to UMKC is currently the talk of the town. Some proponents want to see the line extended an additional 6.3 miles along the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. Some say they would like to see the streetcar line run alongside the Trolley Track Trail, accommodating those who would like to keep the trail for pedestrians and bikers. Although nothing is confirmed as of now, we’re certain there will be more talk about the future of the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail.

Looking to buy a home and learn even more about the history of Brookside? Turn to the Brookside Real Estate (and history!) experts. 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’s Hidden Treasures: Pocket Parks

What is a pocket park? Pocket parks are hidden landlocked green areas taken care of by the subdivision Homes Association. In fact, if your house doesn’t back up to a pocket park, there’s a good chance you have no idea the pocket parks we are about to explore even exist! Although they are open to the public, pocket parks don’t have a public entrance like most parks. To get to these hidden treasures, you must cut between houses. Let’s take a closer look at Brookside Real Estate Company’s top 4 Brookside pocket parks!

  1. Grand Avenue Pocket Park: One of the larger pocket parks in the area, Grand Ave Pocket Park located at 66th Terr & Edgevale, is the perfect open space for children to play. Join the Pocket Park Cleanup Workday October 6 starting at 9:30am! Trash bags and water will be provided – just bring your gloves and yard tools to help get the park cleaned up. Following the workday will be Movie Night in the Park! All you need to bring are chairs and blankets – popcorn and a movie on the big screen will be provided by the Armour Hills Homes Association. What a fun way to get the family involved and get to know your neighbors!
  2. Southside of Edgevale Pocket Park: The ideal space for a game of baseball and/or kickball! The best part? There is plenty of space with a fence behind home plate, so you won’t have to worry about a foul ball ending with a broken window! Located at 66th & Main, this pocket park is easily accessible by turning down the back alley between houses. Pack an afterschool snack and enjoy a picnic at the provided picnic table while the kids release all their built-up energy.
  3. Happy Woods Pocket Park: Right in the heart of Crestwood at 55th between Oak & Cherry, this spacious pocket park has plenty of room for various activities. Eat lunch at one of three park tables, read a book while seated on the private bench, swing on the swing set, climb around the playground or play catch in the open land. Happy Woods Pocket Park is a beautiful place to sit back and relax while your kids release their energy!
  4. Cherry Woods Pocket Park: Another Crestwood gem, Cherry Woods Pocket Park at 55th between Cherry & Holmes, is the last pocket park on our list! A park with plenty of space for the kids to play, Cherry Woods has a playground and trampoline, as well as a table and lounge chairs for the less active. End your day with an evening at Cherry Woods Pocket Park!

Looking to move to the Brookside area and take advantage of these beautiful pocket parks + more? 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! We can’t wait to show you all of the aspects that make Brookside the most sought after place to live in KC.

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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!

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30 Years and Beyond!

2017 was the 30th Anniversary of Brookside Real Estate, and we took that has an opportunity to refresh
our commitment to the Brookside Community and as a challenge to being as accessible as possible to the buyers and sellers in this wonderful neighborhood we call home. As we bid farewell to 2017, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on a great year and thank all the wonderful clients that have made the past 12 months (not to mention 30 years!) so special.

We started 2017 by launching a brand-new website with an updated look and feel and, also, as our smartphone users have certainly noticed, we became mobile-friendly! Our new website has made it easier than ever to connect with any of the agents at Brookside Real Estate – and review up-to-the-minute new listings!

On the “put a face with a name” front, we made it easier than ever to recognize our friendly crew of agents with several new billboards around town. We also created a short video (conveniently linked on our website) so you can get to know our agents a little better and learn more about our Brookside community.

To make our Brookside office easier to spot (especially in these shortened-sunlight days of fall and winter), we gave our 63rd Street office signage a graphic facelift and – drum roll please – powered up the backlights of the sign for the first time in 30 years! Rain or shine, if our flag is flying and our lights are on, stop on by and say “Hi!” – we’re always in the mood to meet a new friend!

Another goal for our anniversary year was to get the word out about Brookside to apartment dwellers and millennials who might not know the ins and outs of what it takes to buy a home. We thought, “What better way to educate and socialize than over an adult beverage on the back deck?” This inspired brainstorming led directly to Brookside Real Estate’s “First Time Home Buyer Happy Hours”!

Beyond sharing a beer and small bites, it was clear that first time home buyers have a lot of questionsand often wanted more knowledge about buying without a major commitment. Our goal was to answer commonly asked questions, clear up any misconceptions, lay out steps along the home-buyer timeline, and take away some of the mystery from sometimes ominous-sounding home buying terms.

The team here at Brookside Real Estate are thankful for the success we’ve experienced in 2017. Without a doubt, it wouldn’t be possible without our great clients! We welcome 2018 and we’re committed to continue to provide our new clients with the same high level of personal service, commitment and dedication that past clients have come to expect. We especially look forward to developing new relationships with even more wonderful clients in Brookside – and throughout the Kansas City community!

We wish you and your family enjoy a very Happy Holiday season and have a safe and happy New Year!

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Spotlight on Business Friends in Brookside

Brookside Real Estate

Brookside’s many great shops, restaurants and small businesses are an essential part of the mix that makes the Brookside neighborhood truly unique! Many of the great shops and businesses are locally owned, offering everything from delicious cuisine and great cups of coffee to one of a kind fashion finds from around the world and even a mini-fleet of pest-prohibiting bold and blue Volkswagens that are sure to put pests to rest in less than a flash. All told, Brookside is home to over 70 shops, restaurants, boutiques, offices and small businesses. We’re proud to share a few more of our favorites with you!

Carmen’s Café has been a local Brookside favorite since the Bautista brothers, Juan and Francisco, opened at 63rd and Brookside Plaza back in 1999. Carmen’s is a friendly neighborhood Italian-style bistro with a flair for Latin tapas – all served up with a nice glass of wine. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner spot for two, a business lunch for four – or a banquet space for a large gathering of family and friends, Carmen’s has you covered! Try their delicious chicken spiedini or steak modiga – and don’t forget to start with their signature stuffed artichoke! You can expect a warm welcome, superior customer service and some of the best Italian cuisine in the city!

Brookside Real Estate

A great cup of coffee is also easy to find in Brookside! Founded in a Brookside basement back in 1993,nobody does coffee quite like The Roasterie. Founder and Brookside neighbor Danny O’Neill picked his first batch of coffee beans in Costa Rica starting his decades long love affair with making great coffee! Fast forward to 2005 and The Roasterie in Brookside opened. Voted “Best Coffee Shop in Kansas City” by KC Magazine five times and counting, The Roasterie is just the spot to get your day started with a hot cup of one of their signature blend coffees and a bagel or pastry – or catch a mid-afternoon espresso and people watch on their outdoor patio.

Brookside Real Estate

World’s Window allows shoppers to see and buy treasures of the world – all from the heart of Brookside. An experience like no other, World’s Window is your passport to the world of great shopping. Owners Jan and Lonnie Buerge believe shopping should be fun and with World’s Window they’ve hit that mark and beyond. When you walk in, you’re immersed in colors, sounds and smells that will remind you of places way beyond Kansas City. Whether you’re looking for decor for your home, a one-of-a-kind gift for a friend, or just the experience of traveling around the world in no time at all, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for at World’s Window.

Brookside Real Estate
Photo Courtesy of 435 Magazine

Not only does Brookside offer unique shopping and dining, it also boasts more than a few successful small businesses. Known by Brookside locals for their mini-fleet of Blue Beetles (over a dozen royal blue Volkswagens with a flair), Blue Beetle is your one stop shop for all things pest control. Started by Brookside resident Mitch Shipman 14 years ago, Blue Beetle services the entire KC metro and can solve anything from termite problems, mosquitoes, or bed bug treatments. The best part – their team of professional technicians are “dedicated to take care of whatever is bugging you”!

Be sure to check out any of these great businesses the next time you’re in Brookside! While you’re at it, stop by and say “Hi” to Brookside Real Estate – at 9 West 63rd Street. We’d be happy to chat with you and help you make our charming Brookside neighborhood your home too!