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3 Tips to Upgrade Your Home Office

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

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

Wishing you hope, health and happiness, Kansas City!

 

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4 Tips For Selling Your House During Covid-19

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

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

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

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Why Matterport Matters to Your Homeselling/Homebuying Experience

View of home living room

Virtual 3D Home Tours!

Looking for a way to step up your real estate game and help you reach your home-owning goals!? Ellen Zetmeir works with cutting edge tools and technology to help!

Times may be uncertain for many people, but the way you feel about a home doesn’t have to be. Ellen has all the experience and insight to help you discover and build your dream home.

One tool in Ellen’s real estate belt is a virtual tour guide called Matterport that allows you to completely examine a home from top to bottom and inside out – without ever setting foot inside! Walk through the front doors, peer out the kitchen window, snoop in the basement! It’s all there for you to take an open house tour anytime. No need to awkwardly peek around the place with other potential buyers or in front of the owners, you get your own personal tour and as much time as you want! Snoop away! No, really – Click here to  virtually walk through an example!

Dollhouse View

Imagine eating breakfast in the cozy kitchen nook, or sitting down with family and friends in the spacious living area; check out the bedrooms, the closet spaces, and the garage. This virtual tour guide allows you to visualize just how your dreams can become a reality! You can even measure a space to make sure that your furniture will fit where you want it to! With various views including a “dollhouse” view, an inside view, a floorplan view, and a measurement tool – Matterport has something for everyone!

Ellen also knows this tool is a game-changer for those selling their homes. Great photos of the house generate more interest, and with Matterport, your chances skyrocket! Your potential buyers can peruse your home anytime they’d like – and buyers are far more likely to contact you about the house with questions and feedback. With Ellen to help set everything up, preparing a virtual tour is fast and painless. Matterport uses an app that scans for accurate measurements and breathtaking photos so that potential buyers can see just how enticing your home is. You can even call out your favorite features of your home by utilizing tags throughout the virtual tour! Ellen will use this tool to “up your house-selling game” and give you a cutting technological edge over other homesellers. Rise above the competition and sell your house faster!

There are several benefits to utilizing a technology like the Matterport virtual tour guide:

  • Screen Buyers: You are able to screen buyers without a physical walk through the home which eliminates the need for any additional people in your home. Only the most serious buyers will want a physical walkthrough.
  • Showing Off: Showing family your potential dream home is just a shared link away! When there is a virtual walkthrough, family is able to share in the excitement of home buying that much easier.
  • The Out-of-Towners: Many people still find themselves moving to new cities or even new states, and setting up a virtual tour opens up a whole new market of potential buyers who are not close enough to see the house in person.

Ready to take the next step? Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, Ellen is the personal and professional presence you need.

Give Ellen a call today at (816) 489–6950! See for yourself the difference a virtual tour and an agent like Ellen Zetmeir can make!

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Ellen’s Tips for Navigating the Paint Trends of 2020

With the start of a new year came some vibrant new color trends! Bold is back, and we are here for it!

A thrust of individualism in culture is driving some thrilling hues in the face of the neutral colors that have dominated the scene for awhile now. Here’s to personalization and customization in a world of sameness.

However, these vibrant shades are causing some concern and hesitation in the homeowner ring; radical paint colors can make resale a bit tricky when potential buyers don’t share the same love for the bright hues that you like.

Let’s take a look at the new paint trends of 2020 and call attention to the colors you catch a glimpse of in magazines and reality home décor shows. Pantone released a Classic Blue with husky hues, while Sherwin Williams took blue to a deeper level with a rich naval shade; Benjamin Moore opted for a soft, rosy pink indicative of a rosy, blooming spring. Patterned after nature and soft meadowlike impressions, Behr is promoting a yellow-green, while Dunn-Edwards has chosen a fresh minty green.

Don’t jump to coat your house in yellow-green just yet! It’s important to understand that these paint trends are selected by companies in an effort to drive certain aspects of the paint market or to promote cultural movements. Notice that neutrals are not disappearing altogether; rather, they create a flexible canvas on which you can express more vibrant hues. One classic, white, is making its own understated march through homes as it provides the perfect blank slate for bolder accessories or art pieces. Quintessential white is still the more popular choice for cabinets, walls and interiors, and even flooring; with its crisp and clean presence, it will always be a top choice in home color trends, especially in kitchens.

Are you ready for Ellen’s perfect home décor secret? The key to following trends is “inspiration not imitation.” Homeowning is about designing your own space where you feel good. What do you seek in a home? Comfort. Strength. Peace. Happiness. These characteristics should be the goal of your home. Give your house its soul and beauty by expressing yours! Use the canvas of your house to create the environment you want!  Don’t copy exactly what you see on HGTV; use the trends as a muse. Gather ideas and trends and blend them with your own taste to express your home as a unique piece of art.

That being said, take into consideration how long you’re planning on being in your house; if it’s a lifelong home, go ahead and get creative with your walls! Only planning to be there for three years at the most? Try keeping the neutral walls and adding your vibrant colors with pillows, art pieces, and other accessories. If you still want to be bold with your paint choices, consider repainting to a neutral color before you resell.

Another tip Ellen has for you is to test your paint colors first. Test. Test. Test. Those beautiful shades you chose from the paint selections may not appear the same on your walls; the hues can be influenced by everything from the lighting to the furniture around that area. Sample those paint colors before you jump about splashing them on your walls. Keep in mind that certain colors also photograph better than others; you want a color that will reflect light, making the home feel warmer and larger than it perhaps is. Test out paint swatches or use peel-and-stick samples which can be larger and more easily removed; this will give you a better idea of how your finished product will look. And remember – the cost of a sample quart will seem like nothing if you paint a room the wrong color!

Whether you’re ready to go big and bold with the colors in your home or looking to change up the accent colors a bit, Ellen is here to answer all your questions about homeowning. Are you ready to sell your house? Perhaps you’re looking for a dreamy home to begin settling into! Contact Ellen today to start the next step of your journey today!

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Brookside’s 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Warm-Up Parade

bagpipers marching in parade

Celebrate Brookside’s 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Warm-Up Parade

Woman in black convertible
Ellen Driving in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

In Brookside Irish roots have historically run deep with hundreds of area residents tracing some or most of their family heritage back to the Emerald Isle. But on Saturday, March 14, it may be difficult to spot anyone without a little Irish spirit in them among the sea of green on hand for Brookside’s St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade!

Join the crowd – and the fun – as thousands of spectators and participants celebrate all that is Irish during Brookside’s 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade. The parade officially starts at 2pm on Saturday, March 14th – but insiders will recommend an early start to find parking, grab a bite to eat and peruse local shops prior to the festivities!

Recently rated Kansas City’s “Best St. Patrick’s Day Parade” by Kansas City Magazine, there’s a little something for everyone at one of Brookside’s favorite family and pet-friendly special events. Businesses and groups from across Kansas City participate in the parade which includes floats, classic cars, Irish dancers, drill teams, bagpipes and more!

The Brookside Real Estate team is no stranger to this celebration – having participated in the Irish fun for decades. Be sure to keep a look-out for Ellen Zetmeir driving her convertible “Scout” in the parade (and don’t forget to wave!)

map

The Parade Route:

  • Starts at 65th and Wornall
  • North on Wornall to 63rd St.
  • East on 63rd St to Main
  • South on Main St. to Meyer Blvd.
  • West on Meyer Blvd. to Brookside Rd.

Download the 2020 Parade Route here. 

One of the things we love the most about the Brookside-area neighborhoods is the amazing community participation. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll be hooked too! If you’re considering making Brookside your home – or, even if you just have more questions about living in one of the best KC neighborhoods – stop on by the Brookside Home Center at 9 W. 63rd Street and ask for Ellen Z. – or give Ellen a call (or text) at (816) 489-6950.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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I’ve Got a Guy – Episode 3: Landscaping with Envision Lawn and Tree

Your favorite Brookside realtor is back with more insider tips!

In this episode of “I’ve Got a Guy,” Ellen asks the questions we’ve all been wondering about landscaping in the Brookside neighborhoods.

The first impression of a house rests greatly on its landscaping and exterior presentation; when buying or selling a home, it’s crucial to examine this influential aspect because as Ellen’s go-to landscaping guys claim “how it looks on the outside is usually what’s on the inside.” In this episode, Ellen talks with her landscaping go-to guys, John and Charlie Smith from Envision Lawn and Tree to bring you insight into how they address Brookside-specific landscaping challenges.

Check out the video below, plus John and Charlie’s ways to improve and maintain your yard’s appearance.

Brookside Landscaping Challenges

Brookside is essentially a park with well-established trees. While this creates beautiful views, Brookside landscaping can be a real chore!

  • KC’s unpredictable weather means that freezing rain and snow cause easily dead and broken limbs; these dead limbs are hazardous as they hang over houses and exposed power lines.
  • The tall, beautiful trees contribute to an overabundance of leaves in the fall, which can clog gutters and drains, leading to drainage issues.
  • The excessive leaf amount also means that without proper leaf removal, those leaves will suffocate your grass and plants come spring.
  • Many Brookside homes also struggle with wet basements and flooding. John and Charlie explain what “grading” is and how landscaping can help prevent a flooded basement!

Tips When Buying/Selling

  • Be Observant: the exterior of the home is a strong indication of any issues that may be inside the home.
  • Tidy the Look: Use fresh mulch, cut back shrubs, or even plant new ones to refresh the house’s appearance. Look into seeding versus sod for your yard and ensure green grass.
  • Check the Yard’s Grade: does the lawn slope down towards the house leading to flooding? Or does the lawn slope down away from the house?

Envision Lawn and Tree Services

John and Charlie have got your back! Envision Lawn and Tree can not only clean up the most untamable of yards, they can also address the wet basement issues by sloping the lawn and/or installing French drains! From tree removal to fresh mulch, there’s a reason Ellen counts on these guys to quickly and effectively assess and deal with any landscaping issues she encounters.

Are you looking for a house in the Brookside area? Ellen can’t wait to help you find the perfect home! Contact her today! Ready for some high quality lawncare? Contact John and Charlie at (816) 788 – 0808. Let them know that you saw this video and tell them Ellen sent you!

 

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New Year, New You – In Brookside!

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions about weight loss or fitness but don’t know where to start?

Maybe you aren’t keeping resolutions, but you have some fitness goals in mind. Whether you’re a fitness veteran and new to Brookside or a long-term resident new to the gym scene, Ellen knows just the local places to visit!

With the winter months still upon us, exercising outdoors is not a delightful prospect for most. Brookside offers indoor gyms that can help you find just the fitness program you need. Here are four of Ellen’s favorite gyms:

  1. Orange Theory (near 62nd Terrace and Main in Brookside)– With intentional coaches and the technological tools to monitor your progress, Orange Theory offers group classes with professional guidance to encourage you in completing your goals! Sign up for classes now; if you’re a first time visitor, you can take one class for free!
  2. Barre3 (on 63rd Street across from Brookside Real Estate office) – This unique fitness community blends ballet barre techniques with yoga and pilates to create a strengthening course easy enough for beginners! As an extra bonus, Barre3 also offers a “play lounge” day care setup so you don’t have to worry about your little ones while you’re working out – distraction free! Find a trainer and community here!
  3. City Gym –  (Located in in the heart of Waldo) City Gym offers everything from Spin to Zumba to Strength 360 classes. Check out their membership options here! Have any questions finding the right spot for you? Let them know!

If you’re not looking for a gym, just a little time outdoors, Ellen knows just the spots in Brookside for a lovely walk. The local Trolley Trail is four miles long and covers a historic section of the Brookside community. You can also check out Loose Park with its lovely views and excellent walking paths – with a small loop of just over a mile and a slightly larger loop so you can switch it up and enjoy a change of scenery while you exercise. Don’t forget the Brookside neighborhood streets are also quite walkable; most places in Brookside are dog friendly, but if you’re looking for off-leash options you’ll have to check out Swope Dog Park.

Whether you’re looking to start your fitness journey or you’re searching for a new community, Brookside has a wonderful selection of fitness options. Interested in becoming a resident of the beautiful Brookside neighborhood? Ellen can’t wait to help you discover your perfect home! Contact Ellen today and take the first step to joining the blossoming Brookside community.

 

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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 Real Estate Donates to KC Pet Project

KCPP Chief Development Officer, Marie Dispenza and Brookside Real Estate Owner, Jim Kraus

Brookside Real Estate announced a partnership with KC Pet Project during the summer if 2019. With each home bought or sold by Brookside Real Estate during the summer months, a donation was given to help provide medicine, veterinary care, vaccines, food and resources to help KC Pet Project save a record number of pets who have nowhere else to turn. The numbers are in and this holiday season seemed like a great time to present a check, so Brookside Real Estate owner, Jim Kraus, went up to the shelter to present a check to the Chief Development Officer, Marie Dispenza.

With KC Pet Project’s main adoption center currently located in a 50-year old reconverted storage shed, Brookside Real Estate could not be more excited for KC Pet Project’s groundbreaking new Kansas City Campus for Animal Care opening January 1st, 2020. The facility, located in Swope Park at the corner of Gregory Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue, will be one of the premier animal sheltering facilities in the United States.

Ready to buy or sell your home and make a difference in the lives of KC’s homeless pets? Give Jim a call directly on his cell phone at 816-806-7653.

To learn more about KC Pet Project and the great work they do, visit their website here.

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Keep Your Packages Safe from Porch Pirates this Holiday Season!

How to keep your delivered packages out of the hands of thieves

The Brookside neighborhood has been all abuzz lately with various reports of package theft. Online shopping is more common than ever, and unfortunately, so are the doorstep thieves. Even with the increase of home security videos and cameras, there are too many stories of people disregarding these home protection services and still absconding with your packages. Brookside Real Estate is here to offer solutions to save your holiday package delivery!

1. Require a signature on your package delivery. There is a fee when selecting this option but depending on what you are shipping, it may be worth it. However, many people won’t be at home when the package arrives (which is the problem with the package stealing in the first place) so many shipping companies also include options to send packages to alternative locations.

2. Amazon has several alternative shipping options, especially for its Prime members. They offer everything from in-home delivery to in-garage delivery (for those with pets or alarm systems) to Amazon’s locker system. Many of these lockers are placed in local convenience stores or Whole Foods.

3. UPS Access Point System is another great tool. Not a Prime member and looking for your options? UPS allows you to register as a member and send your packages to a UPS Access Point (these include local retailers near you and often CVS locations). The paid premium membership offers a few extra options to your delivery experience, but you can utilize the UPS Access Point system through a regular free membership.

4. FedEx Delivery Manager. FedEx has a similar system set up with Walgreens. Simply sign up for the free membership and let them walk you through locating the closest store to you!

Know that most alternative locations will hold your package for seven days and will require an official ID upon pick up.

5. Leasing Office/Workplace Delivery If you live in an apartment, check with your office management; many places allow you to ship your package to their office from which you can pick up your package during business hours. Alternatively, have your packages delivered to your workplace if appropriate.

When it comes to preventing package theft; know your options! Have all of your holiday gifts delivered knowing that your packages are safer than they are with Santa.