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.
Celebrate Brookside’s 40th Annual St. Patrick’s Warm-Up 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!)
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.
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.
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!
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
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).
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.
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.
Roofs are Repairable “Roofs are always repairable.” The repairs can make a big difference, although sometimes they are not permanent.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Once again fall has slipped into winter under our noses and the beauty of the season has left us with dead leaves and muddy footprints all about. Instead of dreading the dark dreariness of winter, it’s time to celebrate the joys and warmth we find during this time of year. Whether you’re selling your house this season or simply searching to beautify your winter nest, Ellen knows just the tricks to make your house a welcoming, cozy home this winter.
HAZARD – FREE – The first tip to making your house a place of inviting warmth is to prioritize safety.
Start by clearing snow and ice from your drive and walkways. A nasty slip and fall is not the kind of way to break the ice with your relatives or with potential buyers. Ensure that any and all steps and handrails are accessible, free of ice, and repaired if necessary.
Lighting is crucial to your home’s safety, but it can be done in a tasteful and inviting way; hanging lights in the yard or putting a lantern out front are wonderful ways to warm up your home’s exterior.
OUTDOORSY – Once you are reassured that your home is a safe place, Ellen’s second tip for curbside appeal is to invest in creating a lovely winter wonderland around your home.
Most plants lie dormant during the winter months, but there are types of winter flora that will add signs of life to your front yard. There are several varieties of spruce, cypress and boxwoods. If you don’t quite have the time to upkeep winter plants, Wreaths and garlands are an excellent and festive way to decorate your front door or even the fence posts by your driveway
Birdhouses and feeders will also help to add life and warmth to your yard. There are plenty of birds that stick around during the colder months; besides the cardinals and blue jays, keep your eyes out for snowy owls, bluebirds, nuthatches and chickadees. If a little winter bird watching intrigues you, invest in your very own feeder to keep your feathered friends close this season!
MERRY AND BRIGHT – Your home should be an inviting and cheerful place, especially during the grey winter months. In order to create a welcoming atmosphere, it’s essential to pay attention to the details of your home.
Don’t wait for spring cleaning! A deep clean of your windows, shutters, front porch, and fence may be just the thing your home needs to brighten up. While we’re sprucing things up, it may be time to repaint those address digits, your mailbox, or your porch and shutters.
Welcoming guests is a little trickier to do when you’re unclear of their arrival time; fix that doorbell so your guests don’t have to wait in the cold! With the ups and downs of the temperature, one thing you can count on is a lot of mud so make sure to purchase a sturdy doormat that will keep the mess outside.
EXCEPTIONAL – When it comes to home décor, Ellen knows the importance of balancing unique pieces with a sense of class; it’s important to keep in mind the type of visitors you are expecting this season, especially if you are selling your house. Since you don’t know who will be interested in your home, it’s best to keep décor tasteful and simple. That being said, there are still options to make your house stand out!
Add lights around the driveway to create a warm, inviting entrance. You can also string lights along a front fence or use them to highlight majestic trees in your yard.
You could even paint your front door to draw interest! The color you choose should blend well with the neighborhood palette, but don’t disregard a warm dark wood or even a bold red to make your home unique!
There are plenty of ways to stay busy around the home this winter; whether you’re staying home for the holidays or selling your house to a new family, it’s the season to create a warm and comforting place! Take Ellen’s tips for creating a cozy winter home and enjoy a relaxing and cheerful atmosphere!
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?
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!
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.”
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!”
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.
Ellen Zetmeir doesn’t just live and work in Brookside – she’s the go-to-gal with all of the little tips and tricks of navigating the Brookside/Waldo area like a true local! Established 100 years ago, Brookside is now home to over 70 shops, restaurants, boutiques and small businesses. We recently spent the day with Ellen exploring the heart of Kansas City and got up close and personal with 4 of her favorite local haunts in Brookside.
Family-owned from the beginning, Jake Imperiale opened Bella Napoli almost 20 years ago with a dream to offer an ambiance of a true Italian ristorante. Serving only traditional Italian family recipes with market items for purchase imported directly from Italy, Bella Napoli is Brookside’s very own corner of Italy. From the moment you walk through the door, you’re treated like family! Bella Napoli’s friendly and personable staff always greets Ellen with her favorite Pellegrino at her preferred table. “Sitting in Bella Napoli, eating traditional Italian pizza, is the perfect evening get-away to Florence – all from the comfort of your own neighborhood,” says Ellen. If you’ve yet to try Bella Napoli stop in and see for yourself why it’s Ellen’s Brookside go-to!
If you ask Ellen where her favorite florist in the city is, she’ll always say, “the Fiddly Fig is the most phenomenal florist in the world.” Another locally owned neighborhood gem in Brookside, the Fiddly Fig offers only the highest quality floral arrangements. The longtime florists have great style, work with unique flowers and will custom arrange a bouquet to meet your specifications for any and every occasion. Not only does Fiddly Fig offer the most beautiful floral arrangements in Kansas City, but it also is home to one of the best gift shops in the area! With fall flowers in full swing, stop in Fiddly Fig and check out their exceptional floral arrangements, décor and one-of-a-kind gifts for every occasion.
With crisper mornings in the air and colder weather just around the corner, one of Ellen’s neighborhood staples will take you back in time to a more carefree day in Brookside. The locally owned Brookside 66 on the corner of 63rd and Main is one of few remaining full-service gas stations – and Ellen’s go-to. “There’s nothing nicer than stopping by the Phillips Gas Station in the winter for gas and not even having to get out of your warm car, you just feel very cared for,” says Ellen. “As a single woman, I always feel safe and never like I’ve been taken advantage of. This isn’t always the case with other car shops,” Ellen continued. Even if it’s just a quick stop for the coldest Diet Pepsi around – Ellen always supports shopping local. Stop by the Phillips Gas Station at 63rd and Main and see for yourself why it’s the best in Kansas City.
A Store Named “Stuff”
A Store Named “Stuff,” located right here in the heart of Brookside, is home to some of the best unique gifts in Kansas City! This Brookside treasure is owned by two sisters who are very supportive of local non-for-profits and organizations that give back to the community. One of the “Stuff” sisters also also happens to be a Girls Scout – just like Ellen! This, of course, is right up Ellen’s alley as it’s, “A fabulous organization to help give back to the community and raise up powerful women in business.” Hosting frequent shopping nights to help fundraise for great causes benefitting Kansas City, Ellen can’t get enough of A Store Named “Stuff.” Not only does Ellen love how the “Stuff” sisters give back to the city, but they also offer the best Christmas ornaments in the city. Stop by A Store Named “Stuff” for Christmas décor that will set your home apart from the rest!
Take a stroll, enjoy the beautiful fall weather and check out Ellen’s go-to Brookside haunts for yourself! While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by 9 West 63rd St – the home of Brookside Real Estate Company – and visit Ellen in her storefront office today!
If you know Ellen, there’s a likely chance you’ve heard her famous words, “I’ve got a guy for that,” on more than one occasion – and she’s not wrong! Ellen does indeed have just the right guys for your home-related questions, concerns and issues. In fact, her neighbor once said, “Ellen, if I woke up one day to a mob of kangaroos in my backyard, you’d be my first call because you probably have a guy for that!”
It takes a lot to become one of Ellen’s “guys.” Having worked with a lengthy list of contractors in the Kansas City area throughout her career, Ellen’s developed her own list of specialists who represent the best of the best in old-home work. And now she’s here to help with her new video series, “I’ve Got a Guy.”
With a passion for older homes in the Brookside area, Ellen’s greater passion is for the people who live in those houses. When you purchase a home with Ellen, she doesn’t just walk away the minute the sale is done. She wants to be the first person you call with any home issue whether it’s days, months or even years after you’ve made your purchase! With her new series, “I’ve Got a Guy,” it’s now easier than ever for Ellen to share helpful information from her go-to old-home specialists with those looking for advice.
Join Ellen on her journey throughout the Brookside and Waldo area as she discusses old home issues with some of the best professionals in the business. If you have any specific questions about vintage homes and their maintenance, drop Ellen a line at email@example.com or stop in and see her in her storefront office across from Charlie Hoopers in the heart of Brookside!
The First Episode: The Sewer Doctor
Take a look at Ellen’s first “I’ve Got a Guy,” episode featuring John Vaughan from The Sewer Doctors. Since the sewers of the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods are often over 100 years old, there may be serious issues lurking 6 feet below the surface of your lawn. Join Ellen and John as they discuss need-to-know facts and important homeowner sewer maintenance tips and tricks – that might even save you big money!
You finally bought your dream home in Brookside, and now you’re ready to make it your own. You want to hang your favorite artwork and family photos but are afraid of doing damage to the plaster and lathe walls. But don’t let them scare you – they’re not as formidable as they seem. You just need a few things to get started. Follow Ellen’s tried and true tips and tricks for your plaster and lathe walls and your beautiful old home will take on brand-new warmth.
How to Hang Artwork and Photos on Plaster and Lath Walls
3M Command strips.
Command strips are an easy solution to hanging décor on plaster and can easily hold your small or medium-sized art. They come in a variety of sizes and styles and won’t leave behind nail holes, cracked plaster, or sticky residue when removed. Just look closely at the weight the strips can hold when purchasing. Plus, if you decide to move a piece of art to a different spot, you can do so without marring the wall.
Standard picture-hanging hooks.
Yes, it’s that simple. These hooks are perfect for medium décor pieces, and your plaster walls are strong enough to hold the weight of medium-sized pictures. Just gently tap the nail into place diagonally using the hook as a guide for the angle. Tapping the nail in horizontally can damage the wall, so be careful.
For larger or heavier pieces, you will want to go with a Hillman OOK Shield Picture Hanger. There are several different types, but this particular one is load rated for 100 lbs. These hangers are sturdy and fabulous for your old-house plaster and lathe walls. They are used by museums and art galleries around the world and even come with a padded back for added protection for your plaster walls. The great thing is that our very own Brookside/Waldo Euston’s Hardware store always carries these particular hooks, and their staff are more than willing to answer any questions you may have about the best tools for the job. Of course Ellen always recommends shopping local and getting to know the neighborhood shops, but if for whatever reason you don’t live in Brookside or Waldo, you can order them online.
When in doubt, drill a pilot hole.
This is the most important tip. This helps to remove a little bit of the plaster and prevent cracking. If you accidentally hit a piece of lathe too hard with a hammer, the vibrations can cause cracking, so be gentle. Drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the size of your nail or screw.
And that’s it – enjoy decorating your new home! If you have any questions, stop in to see Ellen at the local Brookside Real Estate Office located in the heart of Brookside at 9 W 63rd St. She’s your local old home expert and loves to share her experience and passion for any and all things Brookside.
Brookside Real Estate agent Ellen Zetmeir may be the newest member of our team, but she’s been an expert in the field of understanding the structure and unique character of Brookside homes for years.
Ellen first fell in love with the neighborhood and its distinct and unique homes as a child when her uncle and aunt moved to Brookside.
A native of Kansas City, Ellen lived and worked in Wisconsin for several years, first working for a cabinet company and then for Pella windows. She moved back to Kansas City to be closer to family – and to finally live in Brookside, the neighborhood she’d loved since adolescence.
Ellen worked with Brookside Real Estate in finding and purchasing her Brookside dream home. Her own Brookside home-buying experience fanned the flames of Ellen’s passion for older homes and convinced her that working with home buyers and home sellers who had the same love for old homes – and for Brookside – was inevitable. Ellen decided to pursue her dream of becoming a real estate agent with the same company that helped her with her own home: Brookside Real Estate!
While Ellen’s expertise doesn’t limit her to working with older homes, houses built pre-1940 are her absolute favorite. “I see each home as unique, and as having its own story. In getting to know these homes I feel that I can see a part of their history and get to know their personality,” said Ellen.
This skill has proved invaluable to Ellen, enabling her to perfectly match each family with just the right home. Not only does her expertise help match homes for sale with the best buyers, it also helps her know what potential problems to look for in home inspections and to be able to effectively communicate the scope of any structure issue with her clients. “Older homes have their own personalities, and charm, but they also come with their own baggage. Helping buyers and sellers navigate this is one of my specialties,” said Ellen.
When Ellen is not busy matching homes with buyers, she loves to stay active in her community. She is a board member on the Wornall Homestead Homes Association and serves on the Country Club/Waldo Steering Committee. She is a lifetime Girl Scout member – honored with their “Thanks Badge” recognition, and continues to work with local Girl Scouting.
You can often find Ellen driving the streets of Brookside, top down on her SAAB, still admiring the architecture she fell in love with as a child. Or sharing her screened-in porch with friends, neighbors and clients – or even hosting a live blues music party in her back yard.
Click here to learn more about Ellen – or stop in and meet her at our offices at 9 West 63rd street! You’ll be glad you did!