Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Three Ways to Make Your Home Look More Luxurious

Especially for our Real Estate Corner…fans from our monthly newsletter.

Q. I’d like to do a makeover on my house and make it the look more luxurious, but I don’t have a lot of money to spend. What do you suggest?

1) You can make your home look more luxurious with a fresh coat of paint and a little bit of creativity. Try the new faux treatments and other new painting techniques. Your local home improvement store-brand paint usually runs about $30 per 5 gallons. Give your kitchen cabinets a clean, quick makeover by applying a coat of flat primer. After it dries apply a top coat of semi-gloss latex enamel.

Another trick: add crown molding where the wall meets the ceiling for a elegant style. Kits are available at home improvement stores.

2) Ceramic tile flooring can add luxury to your entryways, kitchens and bathrooms for $2-3 per sq. ft. If you’re handy, you can do the work yourself; otherwise installation is usually $2.50-3.50 per sq. ft.

3) New overhead lighting fixtures can change the look of a room and create a luxurious ambiance. Shop for off brands or contractor packs at home improvement stores that’ll save you money.

If you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call us at 816-875-1661.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We are new fans of Brookside Barkery

Bath day for Braxton, our chocolate lab, is most often a calculated and planned event. While he is definitely a good sport about "bath day", it is in two words...a mess. Lots of preparation and lots more cleanup. We recently learned of Brookside Barkery with a convenient location in Lee's Summit with a great pet wash for do-it-yourselfers like us. For a minimal charge (we think so anyway) you can take your furry friend in for an almost spa like experience. You have all the tools and amenities for a pampered bath which includes a variety of shampoos and a conditioner, of course. Their are ear cleaners, nail clippers, assorted brushes, a drying station and a variety of perfumes in which to choose from. I'm sure there was more things we could have done for his additional beauty and enjoyment, but it was our first trip. The employees were terrific and very helpful. We will definitely be back for not only Braxton's next bath, but maybe a little "treat" shopping for our "boy"!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Festive Holiday Lights

Holiday Lights

Throughout Kansas City you will enjoy the twinkling lights of the season! From our own homes, to our local communities to the lights of Kansas City. We hope you'll have the opportunity to enjoy them.

The recent snowfall seems to put the spirit of the season in our hearts and minds. Since I am a snowbird at heart, I'm assuming you are too! Either way, it seems to melt as quickly as it appears.

Below is a list of just a few of our local main attractions:

Don't forget our local downtown areas as well. They provide a great resource for hometown restaurants, shops and festivities. We hope you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Take The Stress Out of Home Buying

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Tips are in part a reprint from

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I received an email today from Dr. Deborah Kern. I felt compelled to share it. She writes, "In what was simply a passing remark, Tim Cook, the minister of our church, made a very powerful comment that quickened my pulse and opened my heart. He said, "There is a technology for abundance. It is 'LPG'.

LPG? Yes, that's what he said.

Then he continued to say the technology of abundance is Love, Praise and Gratitude. Love magnetizes abundance. Praise magnifies abundance. And Gratitude opens us to receive abundance.

As I heard his words, every cell in my body responded to the truth of them. Whether it is abundance in friendship or love or health or money or experiences, LPG works!

The opposite of Love, Praise and Gratitude is Fear, Criticism and Entitlement. Fear pushes abundance away from us and magnetizes the very thing we fear. Criticism shrinks and constricts abundance. And Entitlement closes us off from receiving abundance."

Kevin and I would like to share with you that at this time of thanksgiving we pause to count our blessings. The freedom of this great country in which we live. It's opportunity for achievement. The friendship and confidence you have shown in us. For all of these things we are deeply thankful. Our best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Kevin and Debbie

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thinking About Putting Your Home On the Market?

Try some of these tips before you list:

1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.

2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.

3. Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn our or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin. You'll also know if buyers are over estimating those items when negotiating price with you.

4. Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.

5. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?

Preparation is key and the wisest decision you can make. It will most certainly effect the end result!

Tips are in part a reprint from

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How To Get An Offer On Your Home

1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.

2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it. See Simple Tips For Better Home Showings.

3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.

4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.

5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price. We can help you determine from your market area and its activity if it’s time.

You may also want to check out our website for current real estate information. We keep current market information in our Market Watch report and you may also sign up for your personal Market Snapshot. It’s a live snapshot of the real estate activity in your area. Market Snapshot is not a substitute for a Professional Market Analysis (CMA), but it can give you current information as often as you would like to receive it. Let us know what you think of it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Are We Almost There?

As a child, I would ask my parents on a road trip, "Are we almost there?". Don't tell Kevin I admitted to this, but I still do it to him. I'm not a good car rider. The Presidential Election has felt much the same way for me as I know it has for many others. Are we almost there? Thankfully the answer is yes. There has been a great deal of concern and even some fear over the economy, the housing market, job stability and so much more. I think most of us will feel a sense of relief on November 5th. Regardless of who are nation elects as the next President, we can finally move on. Many of us also are asking, "Are we almost there?" when it comes to our home prices. I don't know that anyone can quite answer that question. We probably will not know the answer until we have passed it and see obvious signs of recovery. I can tell you that we are seeing signs of improvement in the Kansas City area. You can follow our Market Watch report that we post monthly on our website to keep track. We have also implemented a new free service to you called Market Snapshot. You will receive a report that is personalized: It charts market activity-- current up-to-the-minute --with homes in your area, including such data as sold homes, properties for sale, inventory counts and even days-on-market. You'll find it on our website. Check it out and let us know your honest opinion of what you think of it. We are committed to serving you and keeping you informed!