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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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I’ve Got a Guy – Episode 4: Concrete in Brookside with Bedrock Concrete

In this Episode of “I’ve Got a Guy,” your favorite Realtor, Ellen Z, talks all things Brookside concrete with Beau Hahn from Bedrock Concrete.

Whether you’re considering a new patio, driveway, garage floor or another project all together, Concrete work in the Brookside/Waldo neighborhoods presents its own unique challenges. That’s why Ellen brought in expert Beau Hahn to talk all things concrete. Since Brookside is an older, time-tested neighborhood, its concrete sidewalks, driveways, and patios can tend to show the daily wear and tear that comes along with such a rich history.

Watch the video below to answer all of your concrete questions as they talk concrete from both a home-buyer and seller’s perspective.

Brookside Concrete Challenges:

  • One of the common challenges in redoing driveways in Brookside is that layers of old concrete are often covered by layers of old asphalt and over the years has become thicker and thicker layers. This means that in order to truly repair a driveway or garage floor in Brookside a lot of work often needs to be done to first remove the old structures and do the project the right way.
  • Tree roots from the beautiful old trees in the neighborhood have often pushed up sidewalks, stairs and driveways.
  • Over the years, settling occurs and causes problems with driveways and foundations – often directing water flow toward the home instead of away from it.

Beau’s concrete tips for homeowners, buyers and sellers:

  • Sealing concrete – make sure to seal new concrete especially in order to get the most out of your concrete projects for a long time.
  • Never use harsh salts on your new concrete – it will tear up and deteriorate it much faster. Use sand instead.
  • Rinse off concrete with a hose if there is a nice winter day to help preserve it.
  • Settled concrete holds water and can come up in a home-inspection. Sellers should make sure to know what issues there may be – you don’t want any surprises!
  • Remember, concrete can sometimes be patched instead of having to completely replace it.Workers pouring concrete

In this video Beau Hahn also talks about the steps in the process of doing concrete work in Brookside and gives his inside tips for choosing the right contractor for the job.

If you’re considering a spring concrete project you won’t want to miss out on these expert tips. Call Beau at Bedrock Concrete for even more information. Are you looking to buy or sell in the wonderful Brookside neighborhood? Contact Ellen today to get connected with your dream home!

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DIY Home Selling: 5 Reasons to Avoid the For Sale By Owner Approach

Statistically, less than 10 percent of “For Sale By Owner” sellers actually succeed. Selling your home without a real estate agent may seem like a good idea. The thought of not having to pay a commission is a persuasive factor in why some sellers go the FSBO route. But is the “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) option the right choice?

Here 5 reasons that FSBO sellers are unsuccessful more often than not:

DIY tools: tape, clamps, wire cutters and pliars1. An Ill-Prepared Property

Preparing a house to be sold doesn’t just mean making sure everything is tidy; the condition of the house needs to be perfect. Houses that have obvious things wrong are going to be challenging to sell and they’re not likely to command top dollar.

This will involve:

  • Doing repairs.
  • Removing unnecessary furniture and clutter.
  • Painting and decorating neglected rooms in a way to make them look as appealing as possible.
  • Having a professional cleaning.

2. Handling Potential Buyers

A major part of the real estate agent’s job is handling inquiries. Staying on top of calls and emails, being prepared to show the property when it is convenient for potential buyers, can be some of the hardest things to manage for a FSBO seller. This is where an experienced agent would eliminate that stress from a seller.

3. Unsatisfactory Inspection Results

home inspection may turn up some problems with the house that the owner doesn’t want to acknowledge. Most buyers will require a home inspection, and very often, they will highlight some problems with the house. This can upset the owner and can lead to the deal falling through when the owner is unwilling to fix any issues unearthed. Real estate agents have been through the process many times and can offer their expertise in negotiating a successful outcome. Getting through a home inspection is often about give and take.

4. Negotiations with Buyers

The value of pricing your home correctly can be difficult to get right if you don’t have the experience. Negotiations over price can be problematic if the owner has lofty or misguided expectations. The purchase contract is something that also needs to be negotiated. The homeowner may not fully understand what the contract holds them to, and when they need to negotiate with the buyer.

It isn’t just about negotiating on the price; the contract needs to be paid attention to as well if the sale is going to be successful.

5. Closing the Deal

and signing house contractEven if the FSBO seller is lucky enough to get an offer, things can still go very wrong. After an offer is accepted, the homeowner can very easily make mistakes in the process, which can lead to failure. A specific order of events needs to take place for the sale to close. This will involve many different parties, and if they aren’t contacted at the right times, the sale can be delayed or even canceled. Selling a house for sale by owner is risky and should be heavily compared to using an agent before a decision is to be made.

 

Contact Ellen today or stop by at 9 W 63rd St, Kansas City, MO 64113 to find out how you can avoid the hassle of a FSBO deal!

 

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Brookside Fall Driving Tour with Ellen Z

Two women driving in a car

Take a Tour of Beautiful Brookside

Have you dreamed of owning your own home in one of Kansas City’s most picturesque neighborhoods? In this short video, Brookside Realtor, Ellen Zetmeir, takes a new homebuyer through the beautiful neighborhoods in and around the Brookside area, highlighting the unique appeal of each community.

Learn about the different architectural styles of Brookside, from Bungalows with airplane rooms to enchanting Dible Tudors; discover the magic of Loose Park and its fascinating history, and see the house that ignited Ellen’s childhood love of old homes and started her on her path to becoming one of Brookside Real Estate Company’s top Realtors.

Your dream home can become a reality with Ellen Zetmeir’s help! Check out her video tour for a glimpse into stunning Brookside and its surrounding neighborhoods. Already watched the video and ready for more? Call Ellen today: (816)489-6950 – your own neighborhood tour is just a phone call away!

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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!

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How Girl Scouts Changed My Life – 50 Years a Girl Scout

To many, the end of October means Halloween and the beginning of the holiday season, but this time of the year holds a vivid memory for Ellen Zetmeir. As most of Ellen’s friends and family know, she is actively involved with the Girl Scouts. What many may not know, however, is that 2019 marks her 50th Anniversary of being involved with the Girl Scout organization!

Ellen frequently mentions how growing up as a Girl Scout and her ongoing involvement with the organization has made her into the strong, independent woman she is today. We wanted to take the time to interview Ellen to find out more about her Girl Scout passion.

Q: What are your first memories of becoming a Brownie?

Ellen as a Brownie

A: “I became a Brownie in 1969! It was the first time I’d ever worn a uniform and I remember every detail. I had my whole outfit with my little pins and an orange tie that my dad taught me how to correctly tie – it was so special. Girl Scout day was on Tuesdays, so we got to wear our uniforms to school. That was a really big deal as well!

In my hometown, Parsons, Kansas, we had what was called The Girl Scout Little House – a house that had been donated to the Parsons’ Girl Scouts and was used for events and storage. There was a big hill at the house that we used for ingathering. Ingathering was a big city-wide event and sing-along for Girl Scouts in celebration of Juliette Low’s (the founder of the Girl Scouts) birthday on Halloween. At this event, all of the troops would donate money benefiting the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund – funding international travel for Girl Scouts. The coolest part of the event was if someone had been on an international Girl Scout trip, they would bring home ashes from the final fire and add them to the fire at the ingathering. We were a bunch of wide-eyed little girls watching all of this happen – it was so cool!

For me, being a Brownie was a really big deal! In my hometown, that’s just what you did – everyone was a Girl Scout. You went to church on Wednesday nights and Girl Scouts on Tuesday nights.”

Q: What are some of your most memorable experiences as a Girl Scout?

A: “The first really cool thing I remember doing was going primitive camping off horseback in Wyoming for a week or two when I was in 9th grade. We got to ride through the mountains with an elevation map and a compass – no grown-ups around! We would ride our horses, find a place to eat dinner, sleep on the ground and then pack everything back on our horses. It was a truly amazing experience!

Preparing for Her Trip

The following year, I got to be a delegate to a national convention in 1978. This was the year the Girl Scout logo was changed from the original logo with the eagle on the trefoil to the three faces on the envelope – showing girls of all ages and backgrounds. It was a huge deal to be there as a voting delegate!

On the way home from the convention, I began filling out paperwork to go on an International Wider Opportunity. After going through the interview process, I was selected as one of three Girl Scouts from the United States to go to South Africa. This was a game-changer for me! South Africa was in such turmoil at the time that we were even briefed by the State Department prior to our trip to be certain we knew what to expect upon arrival. We were representing the United States as Girl Scouts. It was a once in a lifetime experience.”

South Africa and Her Return Home

Q: How did being a Girl Scout change you? What life lessons did you learn?

A: “Girl Scouts empowered me, gave me confidence and taught me that I could be a smart woman. I also gained leadership skills, how to run a meeting and brainstorming skills. We learned important life skills including how to go to a fancy restaurant, how to tip and make reservations. Because of Girl Scouts, I had no fear and I still have no fear to this day. It was just even more amazing as a young girl. Plus, we didn’t have the distraction of boys at a young age!”

Q: Why should girls join Girl Scouts today?

A: “Girl Scouts has STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and a number of other opportunities that are truly amazing. Girl Scouts has lots of travel available for girls in small and large groups that teach girls life skills they wouldn’t have without travel. It’s an all-girl environment and that’s so important today!”

Ellen’s Halloween Costume

Q: What have you done as an adult with Girl Scouts and what are you currently doing?

A: “For 14 years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I was an advisor for the Youth Leadership Council with GSWISE  (Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast.) It gave me the opportunity to advise over 400 girls and share my skills and confidence, preparing them for

life as an adult. To advise them and lead by example was probably the best work I’ve done with the Girl Scouts, period! It was just amazing and life-changing for not only the girls, but for me as well.

Today, I’m currently involved as an assistant troop leader with a cadet group at St. Peter’s School. I would LOVE to start doing some older girl leadership training here in Kansas City!”

Want to hear even more great stories about Ellen’s Girl Scout history? Stop by her store-front office and ask her anything! Plus, you can find out how to get involved with Girl Scouts yourself. It’s another way to get involved with a special program in the community of Brookside and Waldo.

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5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Fall

The leaves will be changing and the weather will be turning cooler before we know it! Fall is a great time to take care of a few things around the house before winter sets in. Even some of the smallest improvements around the house can make a big difference in your home’s condition and value over time. Take a look at Brookside Real Estate’s 5 tips to getting your home ready for fall:

  1. Remove dead branches from your trees. Dead branches create great spaces for insects to burrow and for disease to spread throughout the entire tree. It’s best to remove them as soon as possible. And when winter sets in and all the leaves are gone, it’s much harder to tell which branches are dead and which are still alive. While your trees still have leaves on them, call a reputable contractor to examine and remove dead branches before the weight of snow or ice brings them down.
  2. Clean your gutters. Tall trees are very common in Kansas City, especially in Brookside! Clogged gutters can cause damage to the exterior of your home and lead to a flooded basement. Before the leaves fall this year, clear your gutters of any leaves and acorns. Once your gutters are cleared, cover them with mesh guards to keep debris from returning.
  3. Check your smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every level of your home. Daylight savings is the perfect time to test all of them! Set all of your clocks forward and replace the batteries in all of your detectors. Then test each detector in your home by pressing the test button. If you don’t have a smoke or CO detector on each floor, now is a great time to get them installed.
  4. Fall is for planting. Even though cold weather is lurking around the corner, fall is a great time to plant some gorgeous spring blooming flowers! The summer heat has passed and the short, bright days help your newly planted greeenery grow their roots. You will love seeing your plants blossoming when the weather warms up!
  5. Inspect your roof. There is nothing worse than trying to find the source of a leak on your roof while navigating through snow and ice. Before the weather turns, use binoculars and inspect your roof from top to bottom. Look for things like damaged or missing shingles. You’ll be glad to get it taken care of before it turns into a disaster.

 

There you have it – some great tips for preparing your home for fall! Most of these tips require a little bit of time but aren’t particularly costly. You will be surprised at how far a little sprucing up will go! Before you know it, your house will be in tip top shape and ready to endure Kansas City’s cold winter months!

If you are looking to buy or 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 other surrounding Kansas City neighborhoods. Give us a call at: (816) 333-3330, or stop by our storefront office at 9 W 63rd any time to chat. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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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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Moving into 2017 in Style!

Reflecting on the past year, we here at Brookside Real Estate are thankful for the success we’ve experienced in 2016.

Without a doubt, it wouldn’t be possible without our great clients! We are especially grateful for the many great neighbors in Brookside and surrounding areas we’ve come to know. After all, neighbors are what make communities great!

With the New Year upon us, we are excited to announce a few new changes that we know you’ll love! For one (as you already know if you are reading this on a handheld device), our brand new mobile-friendly website is now live with its updated and refreshed design! We encourage you to look around and check back often for new blogs, helpful tips, upcoming neighborhood events, and, as always, the newest property listings in our new, easy to use property search engine.

Equally as exciting, Brookside Real Estate Company reached the notable milestone of 30 years in business this year! Even though a lot has changed in the area over those 30 years, one thing that will stay the same is our commitment to the wonderful neighborhoods of Kansas City. After all, we live here too!

We are thrilled to welcome 2017 and continue to provide you with the same high level of personal service, commitment and dedication. We can’t wait for you to experience the new changes we have in store for 2017. Whether it’s looking around our new website or stopping by our retail office on 63rd St. just to say “Hi” – we love saying hello to old friends and making new ones! We welcome the New Year with open arms and look forward to developing relationships with more wonderful clients, the various lenders and title companies we support, and the 100’s of other real estate agents (too many to name!) that we work with day in and day out in the Kansas City community!

Until we see you again, we hope you and your family enjoyed a very Happy Holiday and have a safe and happy New Year!